Skip to main content

Full text of "History of the city of New York : its origin, rise, and progress"

See other formats

Class- P" l ^:T 

Book L_w- 



i' '^ 






Vol. II. embeacino the Century of National Independence, closing in 1880. 







VOL. 11. 


~) r^ 

y \2s 


Copyright, 1877, by A. S. Barnes 6r- Co. 
Copyright, Volume II., 1880, by A. S. Barnes &- Co. 


rpiHESE volumes form a distinct work ia themselves. The im- 
-*- mense wealth of interesting material, necessarily excluded from 
their strictly prescribed limits, suggests other volume.s in the future. 
Elaboration of special subjects, and the picture of the last half-century 
illumined with the electric light of detail, are among the possibilities. 
Such a series would form a natural sequel, but in no wise affect the 
individuality of this work. 

The career of New York is irresistibly attractive during the century 
embraced in the second volume, now complete in uniform size with its 
predecessor. Had it been otherwise my enthusiasm must have waned 
under the severity of application needful for the perfect drilling and dis- 
ciplining of raw material into unity and felicity of arrangement. The 
issue of my first volume two years since, and the unqualified approval 
it elicited from all sources, inspired me with fresh courage ; but the 
inherent magnetism aud vitality of the subject itself has been the secret 
of my success. Tlie pressure to complete the undertaking has never 
for a moment been lifted since its inception. Had I foreseen its 
magnitude I should have been appalled. Its importance justified com- 
prehensive research at every step. Thxis the structure became a matter 
of growth instead of architecture. I have done what I could to learn 
tlie truth. No one authority has been accepted and followed in any 
instance witliout further evidence ; and where accounts have conflicted I 
have sought and secured every book and document relating to the subject, 
of which I could obtain any knowledge, even if no more than one of my 
paragraphs was involved in the issue. 


It has been my intention to collect under one view the almost count- 
less authorities from which I have derived aid. But the extreme diffi- 
culty of assigning a proper measure to such catalogue, and the absolute 
want of space for its insertion, deprive me of the coveted pleasure. It 
would be useful to the student ; and yet it would give a totally inade- 
quate notion of the vast extent of the field in which I have been gleaning. 
Some of the choicest links in my chain have been found in the most out- 
of-the-way places — among seared and yellow letters written by actors 
in the great events narrated, in old sermons, records of trials, wills, 
genealogical manuscripts, documents, and pamphlets; while concerning 
certain matters tinged with ambiguity and uncertainty, I have discovered 
extraordinary and unique sources of authentic information outside of the 
city and State. 

To the various New York families who have constantly and courteously 
given me access to private-libraries and valuable family manuscripts — 
more precious than diamonds ; to the historians and scholars who have 
kindly and uniformly extended assistance whenever I have sought 
information ; to the learned and courteous librarians of the Congres- 
sional Library at Washington, the Library of the Department of State, 
the Library of Yale College in New Haven, and of the New York 
Society, the Astor, the Mercantile, and the Historical Libraries of our 
own city, I cannot express too warmly my grateful acknowledgments. 
The extensive historical knowledge of Mr. William Kelby of the Library 
of the New York Historical Society deserves special mention ; and his 
prompt, untiring, and priceless services in making investigations and in 
suggesting new and various sources of information, courteously rendered 
on all desired occasions, through a period covering fourteen years, com- 
mand my cordial recognition. 

In closing my second volume I can reiterate with emphasis the senti- 
ment expressed in the final paragraph of my former and more general 
preface — in the full confidence that this contribution to the intel- 
ligence of the people of one of the most interesting cities in the world 

will be generously appreciated. 


New York City, December, 15, 1880. 





Various Currents of Human Thought. — Conflicting Opinions in England. — Petition of the 
Continental Ongres.-^. — Chatham's Argument. — The Ministry Courting New York. — 
Death of Sir William .Johnson. — Indian War on the Ohio River. — .Vction uf the New York 
Assemblv. — New York Republican in .Sentiment. — Action of the <_'ommittee of Sixty. — 

The Revolutionarj' Convention. — Delegates to the Second Continental Congress The Tree 

of Freedom. — News of the Battle of Lexington. — The Royal Government powerless in New 
York. — The Committee of One Hundred. — Republicanism. — President Myles Cooper of 
King's College. — .John Holt, the Printer. — Capture of Ticonderoga. — The New York 
Congress. — The Battle of IJunker Hill. — Washington in New York. — The Asia. — 
Condition of the City. — Exploit of Isaac Sears. — General Philip Schuyler. — General 
Richard Montgomer\-". — The Invasion of Canada 11-55 



January- July. 


The New Tear. — New York Active, but Cautious. — Governor Franklin of New Jersey in 
Custody. — Burning of Portland. Maine. — Burning of Norfolk, Virginia. — Families divided 
and Friends at Enmity. — New York disarms the Tories on Long Island. — The Pamphlet 
'•Common Sense." — Sir John Johnson surrenders to Schuyler. — Lee's Arrival in New 
York. — General Clinton's Arrival in New York. — The Panic. — Lord Stirling in Command 
of New York. — General Israel Putnam. — Escape of Hun. John "U'atts. — Fortilications. — 
The British Army driven from Boston. — Washington transfers the American Army to New 
York. — Silas Deane sent to the French King for Help. — Canada's Commissioners. — The 
Third New York Congress. — Alexander Hamilton. — The Conspiracy. — Kiots and Disturb- 
ances. — British Fleet off Sandy Hook. — Governor \Vil!iam Livingston. — Liberty Hall. — 
The Continental Congress. — Declaration of American Independence . . . . 56-91 



July - December. 


Independency proclaimed. — The New Y'ork Convention at White Plains. — Reading of the 
Declaration at City Hall in \Vall Street. — Hostile Ships sail up the Hudson. — Agitation of 
the (^ity. — Arrival of Lord Howe. — Intercourse with ^Vashington. — Army Officers. — 
Battle of Long Island. — The Defeat. — The Retre.-it. — The Conference. — Evacuation of 
the City.— Occupation hv the British. — Battle of Harlem Heights. — The Great Fire of 
1776. — The March to White Plains. — Advance of the British. — Battle of White Plains.— 
Washington's Change of Position. — Death of Colden. — Capture of Fort Washington by 
the British. — Disasters. — March through New Jersey. — General Charles Lee. — Crossing 
the Delaware. — Capture of Trenton by Washington. — The New Y'ork Prisons. — Condition 
of the American Arm v 92-151 





Monev. — Victory at Princeton. — Startling Achievements. — New Jersej' reconquered by 
Washington. — Armv at Morristown. — Lord Stirling. — Raids. — Burning of Danburv. — 
Storming of Sag ifarbor. — Capture of General Prescott. — Constitution of New \ ork. 

— Augustus Jay. — Battle of Scotch Plains. — Fall of Ticonderoga. — Battle of Oriskany. — 
Battle of Bennington. — Discussions in Parliament. — ^ Lafayette. — The Now Jersey Gazette. 

— Opening of the Supreme Court of New York. — Battle of the Brandywine. — Fall of Phil- 
adelphia. — Battles of Saratoga. — Battle of Germantown. — Burning of Kingston. — Sur- 
render of Burgoyne. — Valley Forge. — West Point 162-191 


1778, 1779. 


Parliament. — The French Alliance. — Camp at Valley Forge. — Baron Steuben. — Gardiner's 
Island. — General Howe superseded by Sir Henry Clinton. — The Battle of the Kegs. — 
Evacuation of Philadelphia by the British. — Battle of Monmouth. — General Lee. — Arrival 
of the French Fleet. — Destruction of Wyoming. — New York City under the British. — The 
Prisons. — Citizens. — Colonel Ludington. — torays in all Directions from NewYork City. 

— Dr. John Cochrane. — Winter-Quarters. — Washington in Philadelphia. — The Verplanck 
Mansion. — Condition of the <-'ity of New York. — New Haven attacked. — Burning of Fair- 
field. — Burning of Norwalk. — Stormingof Stony Point. — PaulusHook. — Sullivan's Ex- 
pedition against the Indians. — The Southern Army. — Newport. — Washington at Mor- 
ristown 192-2291 




Significance of Events. — New York City in 1780. — Forays into New Jersey. — Camp Life at 
Morristown. — Alexander Hamilton. — Elizabeth Schuyler. — Arnold under a Cloud. — Re- ' 
turn of Lafayette. — Capture of Charleston. — Burning of Connecticut Farms. — Battle of 
Springfield. — Sir Henry Clinton at Easthampton. — Treason of Arnold. — Aaron Burr. — 
Execution of Andre. — LInpopularity of the War in England. — Correspondence of Hartley 
and Franklin. — The French Army. — Count Rochambeau. — Washington at Dobb's Ferry. 

— The Conflict at the South. — Burning of New London. — Surrender of Lord Cornwallis. — 
Marauding Parties. — Sir Guy Carleton. — Peace Negotiations. — Suspension of Hostilities. 

— Signing the Definitive Treaty of Peace. — David Hartley. — The Cincinnati. — The Evac- 
uation of the City of New York by the British. — Grand Entry of the American Army 230-27-t 


1783 - 1787. 


The Return of New York Families. — Desolation. — Rev. Dr. John Rsdgers. — Churches. — 
Rutgers College. — Rev. Dr. Hardenbergh. — Washington parting with his Officers. — 
Washington's Resignation of Authorit}-. — .James Duane appointed Mayor of the City. 
• — The Mayor's Court. — Richard Varick. — The New York Legislature. — Old Morrisania. 
— The Morris Family. — The Loyalists. — Confiscation Acts. — The Chamber of Commerce 
Reorganized. — Schools. — First Regents of the University of New York. — Columbia Col- 
lege. — Newspapers. — First City Directory. — Political Throes. — Weakness of the Govern- 
ment. — Citizens. — Banking Interests. — Counterfeit Money. — The De Lanceys. — The 
Livingstons. — The Lawyers of the City . . . . " . . . . " . 275-300 



1787 - 1790. 


Wall Street in 1787. — Diplomatic Entertainments. — Social Affairs at the Capital Clerical 

Characters. — .Medical Celebrities. — The City Hospital. — The Doctors' Mob. — Residences. 

— The Two Political Parties in New York. — Alexander Hamilton. — The Insurrection in 
Massachusetts. — Kepresentative Men of the Convention. — The Federal Principle. — Fram- 
ing the Constitution. — Gouverneur Morris. — The Adoption t)f the Constitution bv the 
States. — .\ction of New York. — The Federal Celebration. — New York City. — Federal 
Hall in Wall Street. — The Presidential Residence. — Postmaster-General Osgood. — The 
Election of a President. — The First Congress under the Constitution. — Arrival of Washing- 
ton in New York Citj'. — The Inauguration. — The First Cabinet. — The Inauguration Ball. 

— The Festivities of the Capital. — Social Celebrities. — Members of Congress. — Progress 

of the City 301 - 36l> 




President Wa-shington. — Life in New York. — The John Street Theater. — Social Celebrities. 
— New Year's Day. —The Treasury Department. — The National Debt. — Oliver Wolcott. 
The President and his Secretaries. — The McComb Mansion in Hroadway. — (_)rigin of the 
Tammany Society. — Hamilton's Financial System. — Indian War in Ohio. — Indian Chiefs 
in New York City. — Vermont. — Arrival of Jefferson. — The City Treasurer. — Dealli of 
Franklin. — Chancellor Livingston. — The Favorite Drive of New York. — Political Ques- 
tions. — The Permanent Seat of Government. — .\aron Burr. — New York Men and Meas- 
ures. — The Tontine Association. — New York Election 351 -38i^ 


1793 - 1797. 


Gouverneur Morris in France Effects of the French Revolution in New York. — Citizen 

Genet. — Hamdton and Jefferson. — The Two Political Parties. — (Jouveriunir Morris re- 
called. — War in Prospect. — ( 'hief Justice .lay in England. — •■ Bedford House." — Family 
of Chief Justice Jay. — The WInskey Rebelfion. — Robespierre. —Hamilton's Retirement 
from the Treasury. — Lieutenant-Governor Van Cortlandt. — General Philip Van Cortlandt. 
— The Election of Governor Jav. — The Jay Treaty. — Events of the Summer of 179.5. — 
The Yellow F'ever in New York. — .Appropriation for Public Schools. — The New York 
Society Librarv. — City Improvements. — The Subject of Slaverv. — The Fresh Water 
Pond. — Steam Navigation. — Political Affairs ....'.... 390-4.32 




Contemporaneous Description of the City. — The Streets and Buildings. — The Broadway. — 
The Government House. — The Park 'fheater. — The Drama. — Commerce of New York. — 
The Citv of Hudson and its Founders. — Society. — Intellectual Pursuits. — Marriages in 
High Li'fe. — The Barclay Family. — A Love Romance. — (reneral Jacob Morton. — The 
Ludlows. — Princes and Noblemen in New York. — Re-election of (Governor .lav. — Lieu- 
tenant-Governor Van Rensselaer. — The French Directory. — Monev or War. — The Alien 
and Sedition Laws. — War Measures. — Duels. — .iaroii Burr's Bank —The Commer- 
cial Advertiser — Burr and Hamilton. — Death of Washington. — Personal Sketches — 
Richard Varick. — F.dward Livingston 433--171 



1801 - 180-1. 


The Presidential Tie. — Jefferson and Burr. — The New Cabinet. — The New York Contest for 
Governor. — Defeat of the Federalists. — The Livingstons in Power. — The Mayoralty of 
the City. — Duel of Philip Hamilton. — The Evening Post. — The Newspaper War. — Duel- 
ing. — Colecnan and Cheetham.— President Jefferson. — The Grange. — Theodosia Burr. — 
Dinner to the Indian Chief. — Burr's Independent Party. — Duel of De Witt Clinton and 
Swartwout. — Chancellor Livingston secures Louisiana. — De Witt Clinton appointed 
Mayor. — Burr's Struggle fur the Governorship. — Kesults of the Storniv Election. — Hamil- 
ton's Libel Suit. — Burr challenges Hamilton. — Duel of Burr and Hamilton. — Sorrowful 
Scenes. — Death of Hamilton. — Burr's Movements. — Public Sentiment. — Tomb of Ham- 
ilton 472-50.3 


1804 - 1808. 


New York Historical Society. — Its Founders. — Judge Egbert Benson.— John Pintard. — 
Origin of Historical Societies in America. — The Men of Letters. — The Elgin Botanical 
Garden. — Dr. Samuel Latham Mitchill. — Clubs. — Origin of the Free School Society. — 
Its Purpose. — Its Founders. — Thomas Eddv. — Insane Asylum. — Some of the Public- 
spirited Merchants. — The Friendly Club. — Philanthropic Lad'ies. — The Orphan Asvlum. — 
Thirty-three Charitable Institutions. — The Academy of Fine Arts. —The MedicarCoUege. 
— Newspapers. — Salmagundi. — Washington Irving. — hirst Steamboat on the Hudson.— 
Robert Fulton. — Colonel John Stevens. — Inventions and Experiments. — Ocean Steam 
Navigation. — The Embargo of Jefferson 504-541 




Effects of the Embargo in New York. — Political Animosities. — Election of Governor Tomp- 
kms. — The First Woolen Mills in New York. — Livingston Homes on the Hudson. — Oppo- 
sition to the Embargo. — Fashions of the Period. — Madi.son's Election. — Party Strifes m 
New York. — The Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Discovery of Manhattan Island. — The 
Banquet. — The New City Hall. — City Hall Park. — George F'rederick Cooke. — Church 
Edifices of the City in 1812. — Canal Street. — The Gr.ading and Extension of Streets. — 
Laying out of the whole Island into Streets and Avenues. — The Aldermen. — Colonel 
Nichola.s Fish. — The Erie Canal in Contemplation. — Surveys. — War Prospects. — Cele- 
brated Characters 542-585 




Insecurity of New York. — Condition of Europe. — Hostility to the War. — New York Priva- 
teers. — Plan of the Campaign. — Officers of the Army. — Hull's Expedition to Detroit. — 
The New York Army. — General Van Rensselaer. — Alexander Macomb. — Death of Vice- 
President George Clinton. — Colonel Solomon Van Rensselaer. — The Niagara Frontier in 
1812. — Surrender of Detroit. — Massacre of Chicago. — .Savages coming East. — Creating 
an Inland Navy — Captain Isaac Chauncy. — New York Shipbuilders on the Lakes. — 
Elliott's daring Exploit. — Storming otQueenstown. — Defeat of the Americans. — Election 
of President — Commodore Hull's Capture of the Guerriere. — -loiies' Capture of the Frolic. 
— Decatur's Capture of tlie Macedonian. — The Victory of Bainhridge. — Banquet to the Vic- 
tors. — Peculiar Situation of New York City. — Shocking Massacre at Frenchtown. — Law- 


rence's Capture of the Peacock. — Celebration of Victory in New York. — Combat of the 
Chesapeake ami Shannon. — Death of Lawrence. — Exploits on the St. Lawrence — I'crrv's 
Victory on Lake Erie. — Kecoverv ,if Detroit. — Battle of the Thames. - Tecuniseh killed 
— Storm.nsof l-ort George. - The Blockade of New York Citv. — Gardiner's Island.— 
1 he Creek U ar. — I he Embargo " . . . . 587-640 


1814, 1815. 


Peace Commissioners. — The Battle of Chippewa. — Battle of Lnndv's Lane. — Sortie from 

Fort Erie. — Honors to the Heroic Commanders. — The City of Kew York in .\Iarm. 

Citizens working on the Fortifications. — Cadwalladcr David Golden. — Burning of the Citv 
of \Vashingt<m. — New York City Currency. — Financial Affairs. — The September of Blood". 
The Temper of Xew York. — Baltimore' Assailed. — Invasion of New York through Lake 
Champlain. — Great Victory of .McD mgh and Macomb. — Privateers. — Captain Sam- 
uel Chester Keirt. — Thrilling Defense of the General Armstrong. — Jackson's Defense of 
New Orleans. — The Fortifications of New York Citv. — New England's Opposition to the 
National (iovernment. — Naval Affairs. — Military Parade in New York City. — Darkness 
and Gloom. — The Treaty of Peace. — The Sabbatii of Thanksgiving . ". . ti41-664 



New York City and Harbor. — Effects of the War. — Grand Ball ia New York. — The Treaty 
of Ghent. — Napoleon's Return from Elba. — The Commercial Convention. — Diplomatic 
Affairs. — Philanthropy. — Importance of New York in History. — The Erie Canal Project. 
— l>e Witt Clinton. — The i'anal Meetinij. — Clinton's Celebrated Memorial. — Action of the 
Legislature. — The Canal < 'ommissioners. — Importations. — Finances — Slaverv. — The 
new Canjil Bill of 1817. — Incredulity. — Opposition. — The Battle of the Bill. — Kreakiuir 
Ground. — Charities. — The Deaf and Dumb Asylum. — Societies. — Sabbath Schools.— 
The Common-School System. — Emi.ixration. — Pauperism in the City. — Designing the Na- 
tional Flag. — The First Savings Bank. — The Yellow Fever. — Charles Matthews. — Ed- 
mund Kean. — Interior of the Park Theater. — Social Life of New York. — Pre-^ident Mon- 
roe. — The Gouvevneurs of New York. — Great Political Blunder of 1824. — Ke-electi<tn of 
Governor Clinton. — Lafayette's Arrival in New York City. — Breaking Ground for the Ohio 
Canal. — Lafayette'.s Tour through the Country. The Van Cortlaudt Manor-house GG5 - 695 




Preparations for Canal Celebration in New York City. — Opening of the Erie Canal. — The 
First Canal-boats reaching the Metropolis. — The Aquatic Display. — The Ceremony of 
uniting the Waters of Lake Erie and Atlantic Ocean — Procession in the City. — The Illu- 
mination. — The Ball. — The Medals. — Modern New York. — Mayor Philip Hone. — 
Founding of the Mercantile Library. — Tlie New York Athensum. — Literary Men. — Early 
Clubs of New York. — Residences of Promim'ut New-Yorkers iii 1826. — Public Buildings 
erected. — Death of Adams and .Ifffer.scui. — The two Great New York Rivals. — Clinton's 
Re-election. —The Leake and Watts Orphan H<mie. — John Watts. — Albert Gallatin.— 
Death of Clinton. — The Apprentices' Library. — Right Rev. John Henry Hohart. — Epis- 
copal Theological Seminary — University of the City of New York. — Washington 
Square — The Union Theological Seminary. — Institution for the Blind. — First Horse-rail- 
road in the City. — Steam Locomotives. — Return of Washington Irving from Europe. — 
Riots and Disturbances. —The Great Fire of 1835 696-726 





New York suffering for Water. — Introduction of Gas. — The Crolon Aqueduct. — Murray 
Hill Reservoir. — Ooton Kiver flowing intot lie City. — Celebration of the great Achievement. 

— Election of Martin Van iiuren to the Presidency. — Financial Crisis of 1837. — Failures. — 
Suspension of Specie Payments by all the Banks in America. — Intiuence of James G. King. 

— England sending Gold to New York. — The Country Kelieved. — Banks of 1880. — 
Moneyed Institutions. — Prisons. — The Tombs. — City Correctional and Charitable Insti- 
tions. — Penny Journalism. — The Great Newspaper System. — Founding of the Prominent 
New York Journals. — The Italian Opera. — Poets of 1837. — Columbia College Anniver- 
sary. — Dedication of the University. — Invention of the Magnetic Telegraph. — .\doption 
of the Morse System.— Professor Samuel F. B. Morse. — Honors of the World. — Great 
Political Excitement of the Decade. — Victory of the Whigs. —The Great Fire of 184.5 in 
New York City 727-747 


1845 - 1880. 

Contrasts. — Area of the City. — The Harbor in 1880. — Population. — Union Square. — 
Madison Square. — War with Mexico. — Discovery of Gold in California. — Tlie Astor 
Place Riot. — The Seventh Regiment. — The Astxir Library. — John Jacob Astor. — The 
Crystal Palace. — The Waddell Mansion. — Murray Hill. — Glimpse of Social Life. — Fifth 
Avenue Residences. — The Churches of New York. — ('iuirch Architecture. — Rev. Dr. 
William Adams. — Sabbath Schools of the City in 1880. — Philanthropy. — Tenement 
Houses. — Association for improving the Condition of the Poor. — Asylums. — Hospitals. — 
Five Points. — Archibald Russell. — Central Park. — Financial Crisis of 1857. — Police Riots. 

— The Atlantic Cable. — The Civil War. — Action of New York. — The Draft Riot. — 
Academy of Design. — William Cullen Bryant. — .Assassination of Lincoln. — Union League 
Club. — Lenox Library. — Metropolitan lluseum of Art. — Museum of Natural History. — 
Cooper Institute. — Merchants and Public-spirited Citizens. — The Elevated Railroads. — 
The Brooklyn Bridge. — Conclusiou 748-787 


INDEX 793 



News of Battle of Lexington in New Yorlc City 

Beading of Declaration of Independence at City Hall in Wall Street 

Richmond Hill Honse 

Adoption of the Constitution of State of New York 

Washington reconnoitering New York from Opposite Shore of the Hudson 

Signing of the Definitive Treaty 

Adoption of the Federal Constitution 

Washington visiting Congress in Wall Street ... 

The Collect, or Fresh-Water Pond 

Duel between Hamilton and Burr 

The first Steamboat on its way to Albany 

Canal Street as originally designed 

Illustration of the War of 1812 

Celebration of the Completion of the Erie Canal 

Introduction of the Croton Water into New York City 
Tlie Bay of New York 

. 21 
. 93 
. 117 
. 162 
. 254 
. 267 
. 325 
. 359 
. 424 
. 492 
. 532 
. 567 
. 621 
. 680 
. 731 
. 749 



1. Portrait of General Philip Schuyler..... 17 

2. Clinton Arms 20 

3. Holt's .Snake Device 28 

4. Portrait of Wynant Van Zandt 33 

5. Portrait of Mrs. Wynant Van Zandt ... 34 

6. Watch-Seal of Louis Philippe 34 

7. Portrait of General Richard Montgomery 52 

8. The Apthorpe Mansion 75 

9. "Liberty Hall" 81 

10. Head of a Lady of Fashion, 1776 

11. Bayard Arms 

12. Portrait of General Matthew Clarkson.. 

13. Clarkson Arms 

14. Portrait of Governor George Clinton . 






15. Portrait of Mrs. George Clinton 118 

16. Home of General Philip Schuyler 146 

17. Portrait of Lord Stirling 156 

18. Waddell Arms 157 

19. Portrait of Augustus Jay 164 

20. Portrait of John Jay 175 

21. Portrait of Mrs. John Jay 177 

22. The Waddell Chairs 191 

23. Manor-house, Gardiner's Island, and 

View of Gardiner's Bay 199 

24. Homes of Walter Rutherford and Wil- 

liam Axtell 207 

25. Portrait of Dr. John Cochrane 215 

26. Verplanck House, Fishkill 220 











Portrait of Alexander Hamilton 234 

Portrait of Mrs. Alexander Hamilton... 235 

Portrait of Lafayette 254 

Autographs of Signers of Definitive 

Treaty 266 

Portrait of David Hartley 269 

Hartley Arms 270 

Reade Arms 274 

Residence of Gouvemeur Morris 280 

Specimen of Counterfeit Money 292 

Lady Kitty Duer 295 

Walton Arms 298 

Verpknck Arms 300 

The City Hospital 306 

Portrait of Gouvemeur Morris 317 

Washington's Residence iu New York... 330 

Washington taking the Oath 337 

Residence of General John Lamb 350 

Portrait of Mrs. Ralph Izard 353 

Wolcott Arms 357 

The McComb Mansion 362 

Specimen of Paper Money 367 

Portrait of Chancellor Livingston 371 

Jay Ams 387 

Residence of General Matthew Clark- 
son 389 

Residence of Chief-Justice Jay 400 

Library of Chief- Justice Jay 402 

Testimonial to Lieutenant-Governor Van 

Cortlandt 407 

Portrait of General Philip Van Cort- 
landt 408 

Van Wyck Arms 409 

New York Society Library Building, 

1795 418 

Portrait of Aaron Burr 4.32 

The Government House 435 

The Ludlow Mansion 445 

Ludlnw Arms 446 

Portrait of Stephen Van Rensselaer 449 

Bridge at Canal Street in 1800 467 

Hammersley Arms 469 

Steam-Engine Hou,se 471 

Portrait of Richard Varick 476 

One-Horse Chair, 1802 481 

Hamilton's Country-Seat 482 

Portrait of Theodosia Burr 484 

Tomb of Hamilton 503 

Portrait of Judge Egbert Benson 505 

First Free-School Building 517 

Residence of Archibald Gracie 521 

The Coster Mau.sion 522 

Portrait of Washington Irving 529 

Portrait of Robert Fulton 534 

Trevithick's Locomotive, 1804 537 

Portrait of Daniel D. Tompkins 544 


78. City Hotel, Trinity Church, and Grace 

Church 554 

79. City Hall Park 557 

80. St. John's Church , 561 

81. Foot of Canal Street and Hudson River 665 

82. "Corporation Improvements" 570 

83. Portrait of Colonel Nicholas Fish 576 

84. Portrait of Dr. David Hosack 582 

85. Portrait of General Alexander Macomb 594 

86. George Clinton's Tomb 596 

87. Portrait of Colonel Solomon Van Rens- 

selaer 599 

88. Portrait of Captain Isaac Chauncey 605 

89. Griswold Arms 612 

90. Portrait of Commodore Isaac Hull 615 

91. Portrait of Commodore Decatur 618 

92. The Bainbridge Urn 622 

93. Portrait of Captain James Lawrence... 624 

94. Portrait of Commodore Perry 630 

95. Portraits of Lord and Lady Gardiner... 6-33 

96. Autograph and Seal of Lion Gardiner 635 

97. Diodati Arms 636 

98. Thompson Arms 637 

99. Death of the Terrapin or the Embargo 640 

100. General Brown's Gold Box 646 

101. New York Paper Currency 648 

102. Portrait of Cadwallader D. Colden ... 650 

103. Portrait of Captain Samuel C- Reid... 655 

104. Silverware presented to Captain Reid... 659 

105. Portrait of De Witt Clinton 669 

106. Deaf and Dumb Asylum 679 

107. Interior of Park Theater, 1822 684 

108. Portrait of Dr. Samuel Mitchill 690 

109. Silverware of the Van Cortlandts 695 

110. Keg with Lake Erie Water 699 

111. Design upon Ball-Ticket 702 

112. Portrait of Mayor Philip Hone 704 

113. Residence of Mayor Phdip Hone 708 

114. Portrait of John Watts 712 

115. Portrait of Bishop Hobart 718 

116. University of the City of New York... 719 

117. Portrait of Cornelius W. Lawrence 723 

118. Ogden Arms 726 

119. Murray Hill Reservoir 729 

120. Portrait of James Gore King 734 

121. The Tombs 737 

122. Dutch Reformed Church 740 

123. Portrait of Professor Morse 743 

124. View from Union Square, North 749 

125. Waddell Mansion 756 

126. St. Patrick's Cathedral 759 

127. Portrait of Rev. Dr. Adams 761 

128. Roosevelt Arms 76ft 

129. Portrait of William Cullen Bryant 776 

130. Elevated Railways 784 

131. Bird's-eye glimpse of Broadway 787 




1. Map of Manhattan Island in 1776 ... 

2. Sketch of Battle-Ground, Long Island 

3. Sketch of Battle-Field, Harlem Heights 

4. Map of Great Fire, 1776 

5. Map of British Route to White Plains 

6. Map of Collect, or Fresh-Water Pond 

7. Map of a Portion of Broadway in 1810 



Charles S. Reinhart, Alfred Fredericks, Fells 0. C. Darley, George Gibson, C. E. H. 
Box^•LLLE, August Will, C. R. Parsons, Thomas Beach, Abram Hosler. 


A. BoBBiT, J. M. Richardson, John Karst, John P. DA\^s, Philip Meeder, Jos. Harlet, 
James S. Foy, D. C. Hitchcock, E. A. Winham, Richard M. Smart, Christian Weber, 
Bookhout, George F. Smith, Thomas L. Smart 





Various Curkents of Human Thought. — Conflicting Opinions in England. — Pe- 
tition OF THE Continental Congres.s. — Chatham's Argument. —The Minlstry 
Courting New York. — Death of Sir William Johnson. — Indian War on the 
Ohio River. — Action of the New York Assembly. — New York Kepublican in 
Sentiment. — Action of the Committee of Sixty. — The Revolutionary Conven- 
tion. — Delegates to the second Continental Congress. — The Tree of Free- 
dom. — News of the Battle of Lexington. — The Royal Government poweele-ss 
IN New York. — The Committee of One Hundred. — Republicanism. — President 
Mylbs Cooper of King's College. — John Holt, the Printer. — Capture of Ticon- 
deroga. — The New York Congress. — The Battle of Bunker Hill. — Washing- 
ton IN New York. — The "Asia." — Condition of the City. — Exploit of Isa.\c 
Seaks. — General Philip Schuyler. — General Richard Montgomery. — The 
Invasion of Canada. 

AS we enter upon a conflict which wrought one of the tri- 
umphs in history, — the founding of a powerful nation, — it is 
interesting to trace the various currents of human thought in regions 
widely remote from each other which stamped their influence upon com- 
ing events. We have noted the high sense of political justice which 
prevailed in New York, and the intelligence and energy with which her 
citizens in every decade asserted hereditary rights. A certain vital force, 
gathered unconsciou.sly through the sharp discussion of knotty questions 
and the resolute sitting in judgment upon the edicts of the royal govern- 
ment, with roots far in the past, and a long genealogy, needed only signal 
occasion to ignite and become purely Roman and regal. But, witli all her 
ceaseless internal agitations. New York was scarcely more divided in 
opinion than England herself. And nearly in the same ratio with New 
York, whose extensive frontier was at the mercy of innumerable tribes of 


war-loving Indians, loyal to the crown, the higher intelligence of Great 
Britain was appalled at the prospect of an armed struggle. 

In the House of Lords one peer pronounced the military coercion of 
America impracticable. Another recommended the cutting of the colo- 
nies adrift, " to perish in anarchy and repentance." Many ridiculed the 
idea of open rebellion in America. " How can a jjeople without arms, 
ammunition, money, or navy, dare to brave the foremost among the great 
powers of the earth ? " they asked. Camden exclaimed, " Were I an 
American, I would resist to the last drop of my blood." Sandwich, then 
at the head of the Admiralty, answered with clever witticisms concerning 
American cowardice, causing uproarious laughter. " I tell you," he said, 
"that Americans are neither disciplined nor capable of discipline." 
George III., to all suggestions, scornfully replied, " Blows must decide 
whether the Colonists are to be subject to this country or to be inde- 

The new Parliament spent the entire month of December in profitless 
discussions. Just before its adjournment for the holidays, the 

1774. •' •' 

proceedings of the first Continental Congress reached England. 
The petition to the king was dignified in tone and forcible in expres- 
sion ; even the crowned head was filled with surprise ! The Colonies 
asked only security in their ancient condition ! The appeal was simply 
for justice. For equal rights with British subjects who dwelt upon home 
soil. One passage, as an illustration : — 

" You have been told that we are impatient of government and desirous of 
independency. These are calumnies. Permit us to be as free as yourselves, and 
we shall ever esteem a union with you to be our greatest glory and our greatest 
happiness. But if you are determined that your ministers shall wantonly sport 
with the rights of mankind ; if neither the voice of justice, the dictates of law, 
the principles of the Constitution, or the suggestions of humanity, can restrain 
your liands from shedding human blood in such an impious cause, we must tlien 
tell you that we will never submit to any ministry or nation in the world." 

George III. read, and shrugged his shoulders. He did not lose sight of 
the fact that he had on his side the block and the gallows. He had never 
loved the Colonies. He had no sympathy with the lofty spirit which in- 
spired such significant language. He could not or would not see that the 
suspension of trade was the most disinterested expression of a deep sense 
of wrong. British commerce would be distressed to a certain degree, but 
England could seek other markets ; while the American merchant sacri- 
ficed nearly his whole business. Neither did the blind king reflect upon 
the weak condition of his own war department. British industry at that 


epoch rendered every able-bodied man of value ; hence enlistments in the 
army were rare. Rank was bestowed by favor, or sold for money. Boys 
at school not infrequently held commissions. The corrupt system pre- 
vailed to such an extent that scarcely a general officer of the day had 
gained a great name. 

Barrington, the military secretary, knowing all this, remonstrated 
warmly against war. " The contest will cost more than we can gain by 
success ; we have not military strength enough to le\-y taxes on America," 
he said. With masterly eloquence, he advised that the troops be at once 
removed from Boston. A conference was finally an-auged between Lord 
Howe and Franklin, the agent of the Colonies, to learn the best terms of 
reconciliation with America. Franklin, true to his principles and faithful 
to Congress, declared, as the only basis of possible harmony, that certain 
specified obnoxious acts be repealed, and Boston freed from her ignominy. 
Lord Howe repeated his words to Dartmouth and North, who agreed in 
the opinion that neither the king nor Parliament would concede so much. 

At the opening of Parliament after the holidays the aged Chatham 
rose, and moved to address the king for " immediate orders to re- m^, 
move the forces from the town of Boston." He was keenly alive ^^- ^''• 
to the imminence of the crisis, and his argument teemed with sound logic. 
He said : — 

" My Lords, the means of enforcing thraldom are as weak in practice as they 
are unjust in principle. General Gage and the troops under his command are 
penned up, pining in inglorious inactivity. You may call them an army of 
safety and of guard, but they are in truth an army of impotence ; and to make 
the folly equal to the disgrace, they are an army of irritation. But this tame- 
ness, however contemptible, cannot be censured ; for the first drop of blood, 
shed in civil and unnatural war, will make a wound that years, perhaps ages, 
may not heal. Their force woidd be most disproportionately exerted against 
a brave, generous, and united people, with arms in their hands, and courage in 
their hearts, — three millions of people, the genuine descendants of a valiant and 
pious ancestry, driven to those deserts by the narrow maxims of a superstitious 
tyranny. And is the spirit of persecution never to be appeased ? Are the brave 
sons of these brave forefathers to inherit their sufferings as they have inherited 
their virtues ? Are they to sustain tlie infliction of the most oppressive and un- 
exampled severity '? They have been condemned unheard. The indiscriminate 
hand of vengeance has lumped together innocent and guilty ; wth all the for- 
malities of liostility, has blocked up the town of Boston, and reduced to beggary 

and famine thirty thousand inhabitants This resistance to your arbitrary 

system of taxation might have been foreseen from the very nature of things and 
from mankind ; above all, from the spirit flourishing in that country. 
The spirit which now resists your taxation in America is the same which 


formerly opposed loans, Isenevolence, and ship-money in England ; the same 
which, by the Bill of Eights, vindicated the English Constitution ; the same which 
established the essential maxim of your liberties, that no subject of England 

shall be taxed but by his own consent For myself, I must avow, that in all 

my reading, — and I have read Thucydides and liave studied and admired tlie 
master-states of the world, — for solidity of reason, force of sagacity, and wisdom 
of conclusion under a complication of difficult circumstances, no nation or body 
of men can stand in preference to the General Congress at Philadelphia. The 
histories of Greece and Rome give us nothing equal to it, and all attempts to 
impose servitude upon such a mighty continental nation must be in vain." 

Many of the English statesmen besides Chatham believed that every 
motive of justice and policy, of dignity and jjrudence, urged the removal 
of the troops from Boston ; that haughty England would be forced ulti- 
mately to retract. The illustrious nobleman's words made a profound 
impression upon the crowd of Americans who were listening with breath- 
less attention, particularly when he added : — 

" If the ministers persevere in thus misadvising and misleading the king, I 
will not say that the king is betrayed, but I wiU pronounce that the kingdom 
is undone ; I wOl not say, that they can alienate the affections of his subjects 
from his crown, but I will affirm that, the American jewel out of it, they will 
make the crown not worth his wearing." 

Suffolk replied with angry vehemence, boasting that he was one of the 
first to advise coercive measures, and that the government was resolved to 
bring the Americans to obedience. Shelburne signified his approval of 
the sentiments of Chatham " because of their wisdom, justice, and pro- 
priety." Camden exclaimed : — 

" This I will say, not only as a statesman, politician, and philosopher, but as 
a common lawyer : My Lords, you have no right to tax America ; the natural 
rights of man and the immutable laws of nature are all with that people. 
Kings, lords, and commons are fine sounding names ; but kings, lords, and com- 
mons may become tyrants as well as others ; it is as lawful to resist the tyranny 
of many as of one." 

Lord Gower, with a torrent of sneers, declared himself in favor of en- 
forcing every measure. Eochford and others followed, each attacking 
Chatham with biting sarcasm, and reproaching him with "seeking to 
spread the fire of sedition." But the greatest statesman of the realm 
closed the debate, as he had opened it, by insisting on the right of Amer- 
icans to hold themselves exempt from taxation save by their own con- 
sent. His reaisoning, the essence of the true spirit of English opinion, 
availed nothing. His motion was lost by a vote of sixty-eight against 
eighteen. And the king was well pleased. 


Attention was at once turned towards severing the cliain of union in 
the Colonies which Chatham had proclaimed as " solid, permanent, and 
effectual." The nunistry fixed their eyes upon New York, which was the 
central point, geographically, commercially, and financially. New York 
won over to a separate negotiation, and the backbone of the " rebellion " 
was broken. Every device was resorted to, and every exertion made to 
accomplish the desired result. Very little doubt of ultimate success 
existed in the minds of the king and his influential courtiers. New York 
had acc[uired individual strength and stood out alone, a distinct character, 
as it were, among the colonies. Having no charter, and being the seat of 
a royal government which dispensed commissions, offices, and immense 
grants of land. New York was alive for them with signs of promise. A 
corrupt influence had grown out of contracts for the army ; the New York 
Assembly had been continued from session to session by the king's prerog- 
ative tor a series of years ; New York City was the seat of a chartered 
college which taught that Christians should be subject to the higher 
powers, and of the Church of England, whose ministers were strictly 
loyal ; and over and above all, the shadow of a great terror might be 
turned to account, for the widely scattered and defenseless population of 
the province shuddered at the possibility of the countless savages being 
let loose from the north in case of war. It woidd seem as if New York 
would accept the olive-branch, and welcome almost any plan of accom- 

The recent death of Sir William Johnson (July 11, 1774) had created 
fresh apprehensions in regard to the movements of the Indians. On the 
very day of his death a congress of six hundred braves were assembled at 
his baronial hall, and he had spoken two hours with the fire and vivacity 
of an Iroi[uois orator, endeavoring to persuade the great sachems of the 
Six Nations from participating in the bloody war which was then raging 
fiercely along the savage borders of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, a 
war which involved their own blood — for Logan was a Mingo chief — and 
which was marked by atrocities so awful that history recoils from their re- 
cital.^ Sir William was succeeded in his title and estates by his son Sir 

1 This Indian war broke out in February, 1774. Michael Cresap (a young Maryland 
trader) was at the time clearing an extensive tract of land which he had purchased in that 
region, with a large force of laborers in his employ. He was considered the bravest man west 
of the Alleglianies. When hostilities became a fixed fact, he was chosen captain of the 
militia, and became a terror to the men of the forest. He was young, not over thirty-three 
years of age ; his name has been made familiar to every school-boy for many generations, 
through the famous speech of Logan, the tall, straight, lithe, athletic, sentimental Indian 
chief, who, reeking with his own bloody cruelties, defeated, despairing, and for once thor- 
oughly afraid of his resolute foe, burst into a strain of accusation which has been pronounced 


John Johnson, then thirty-two years of age, who, in 1773, had mar- 
ried Mary, daughter of Hon. John Watts of New York City; but the 
control of Indian affairs feU into the hands of Colonel Guy Johnson, 
who was less powerful as well as less popular than his father, and whose 
efficiency in managing the xmeasy savages remained to he proven. 

This succession of butcheries which crimsoned the Alleghany and Mo- 
uongahela Eivers, was virtually brought to an end through the action of 
the old Seneca warriors in preventing their bloodthirsty young men 
from rushing to the assistance of the defeated tribes in that extensive 
wild ; but these same suspicious and treacherous beings were now snifiing 
the rumors of possible civil war among their white brethren, and any 
prophecy concerning their probable conduct in such an event was idle in 
the extreme. 

Dartmouth quickly ordered the governors of the colonies " to use their 
iitmost endeavors " to prevent the appointment of delegates to the con- 
templated Congress. Tryon was in England, and the aged Lieutenant- 
Governor Colden at the head of affairs in New York during his absence. 
Colden had never swerved for an instant from his allegiance to the crown ; 
he esteemed it a religious duty to obey the instructions of his superiors 
to the letter. In reply to Dartmouth's communication he wrote, under 
date of January 4, 1775 : — 

" Enthusiasm is ever contagious ; and when propagated by every artifice he- 
comes almost irresistible. The Assembly of this Province, as I formerly informed 
your Lordship, are to meet next Tuesday. If I find that there will not be a 
Majority for prudent measures, I shaU incline to prorogue them for a short time, 
that the Plan of the New ParUament may be known here before the Assembly 
do anything." 

This legislative body was slow in coming together. It was the 26th of 
January before twenty-one out of thirty members were in their 

Jan. 26. •^ •' '' . 

seats. Abraham Ten Broeck immediately moved to take into con- 
sideration the acts of the Congress held at Philadelphia in the pre- 
ceding autumn. He was ably seconded by George CKnton (afterwards 

the finest s)iecimeii of Indian rhetoric and eloquence in tlie history of the race. It is be- 
lieved, however, that Captain Cresap, although so notablj' accused, was in no way responsible 
for the massacre of the chieftain's family, as he was many hundred miles away at the time of 
its occurrence. He traveled over the mountains and through the vales of Pennsylvania to 
the seat of government for instructions, and receiving a royal commission, was one of the effi- 
cient officers in Lord Dunraore's expedition against the Western savages in the summer of 
1774. A tombstone in Trinity Churchyard marks his resting-place, he having died in New 
York in the autumn of 1775, while on his way from Boston (where he was captain of a com- 
pany of riflemen under Washington) to his home in Maryland, his journey from the seat of 
war having been occasioned by sudden and severe illness. 



governor of the State of New York), by the Ijvave Philip Schuyler, Ijy 
Simon Boerum, who had represented King's County since 1761, liy the 
afterwards famous Colonel WoodhuU, l)y Philip Livingston, and, indeed, 
by nearly all the 
members who were 
of Dutch descent. 
A most intensely 
exciting debate en- 
sued. The motion, 
however, was re- 
jected by a vote of 
eleven against ten. 

The news reach- 
ing England, George 
III. and his minis- 
ters became infat- 
uated with their 
courting scheme. 
Henceforth no pains 
must be spared. The 
game must be well 
played. Not a trick 
lost. New York 
must be secured. 
Favors and indul- 
gences to the loyal. 
Praise accorded the 
good disposition towards reconciliation as shown bj- tlie vote rif the As- 
sembly. "Ah," said Gamier to Eochford, "tliat one vote was worth a 
million sterling." But his tone changed when lie was in company Mith 
Vergennes, and he expLuned how that one " insignificant " vote was not 
worth the counting by the Jliuistry, for New York was sure to act ^^•ith 
the rest of the continent, — she only differed in tlie modes. 

Governor Tryon was ordered to return to New York without delay, 
and empowered to give " every reasonable satisfaction to England's faitli- 
ful subjects in New York." Diplomatists were to convey promises to 
the landed gentry ; the chronic disputes in the land department, and 
boundary difficulties, were to be settled in favor of New York ; the claims 
of New York speculators to Vermont territory, under which populous 
villages had grown up, were to lie sujiportetl against the New Hampshire 
grants ; in short, all claims or pretensions were to be honored where the 

VOL. II. - 

Portrait of General Philip Schuyler. 


petitioners would pledge themselves not to obstruct the importation or 
exportation of goods to and from Great Britian. New York was to 
be excepted from the restraints imposed on the trade and fisheries of the 
other colonies. 

There were hot debates in the New York Assembly, particularly 
when the question was argued whether delegates should be appointed to 
the second Congress. It was claimed that the proceedings of the first 
Congress were violent and treasonable, and, instead of healing the unnat- 
ural breach with the mother country, had the effect to widen it immeasur- 
ably ; that " to repeat the experiment in the present emergency was to 
be guilty of open treason in the broad light of day." Against a very de- 
termined minority the House refused to appoint delegates. 

This action was extensively quoted by the hopeful on the other side of 
the water ; and it subjected New York to all manner of unmerited asper- 
sions from the neighboring colonies. But its weight was of little account 
in the general balance of sentiment. Never was a pivot of the policy 
of ministers more grievously misunderstood than New York. Never was 
the character of a community more blunderingly misinterpreted. The 
foundation of the structure was moderation, inflexibility, and an inherited 
predilection for republicanism. An ancestry of which New York was 
proud had proven to the world that a small people under great discourage- 
ments could found a republic. The results of the daring and heroism 
which distinguished the long period of the contest between Holland and 
Spain were fresh in the public mind ; and men reminded each other in 
their daily walks and conversation how Great Britain herself owed the 
renovation of her own political system in 1689 to Holland. The New- 
Yorkers who were actually in sympathy with the British system of min- 
isterial oppression were nmch fewer than has been generally supposed ; 
and they M'ere found chiefly on the surface. The landed aristocracy were 
divided; they naturally dreaded the conflscation of their vast estates. But 
we shall see presently that it was no insignificant proportion of them who 
nobly risked their wide possessions, whether inherited or accumulated, in 
the cause of liberty. The mechanics of the city were almost to a man 
enthusiasts for resistance. They were excitable and headstrong ; and 
men of means and broader intelligence feared that through the very fact 
that this class had notliing personally to lose, and little care for or con- 
ception of possible future events, irreparable mischief might be wrought 
through their rash perversity. 

Notwithstanding the conservative element, and the generally estab- 
lished belief to the contrary, in no American colony was English dominion 
less welcome than in New York. The reader will observe that with all 


the corrupting influences which the ingenuity of a corrupt ^Ministry could 
devise bearing down upon her, without any legally constituted body as a 
rallying point, with perils menacing her on every side, and in defiance 
of the logic which had been a part of every man's education — that an 
established government must be sustained — we find New York proceed- 
ing exclusively by the methods of revolution, and under circumstances of 
difficulty which had no parallel in any of the other Colonies. At the criti- 
cal moment when the king was most obstinately and serenely confident in 
regard to the future conduct of New York, the Committee of Sixty were 
laughing at the vote of the Assembly, which by a majority of four refused 
to forbid importations, and in the very face of this counter-legislative 
action strictly enforced the non-importation agreement of the condemned 
Congress. While the smiling monarch was lavishing flattery upon his 
" well-disposed subjects in New York " and issuing orders that they 
sh( luld be " gratified in every reasonable request," the self-directing Com- 
mittee of Sixty, wishing to test the real mind of New York concerning 
the Assembly's refusal to appoint delegates to another Congress, caused 
a poll to be taken throughout the city, and against one hundred and sixty- 
three, eight hundred and tweuty-five declared in favor of representation. 
A convention was unhesitatingly summoned to elect the delegates, in which 
the counties co-operated with the city. On the 20th of April, 
under the direct gaze of the "supreme legislative government 
of New Y'ork," forty-five undaunted electors chose from among their 
ranks fourteen delegates for the second Continental Congress. Colden 
wrote despairingly to Dartmouth : " It is not in the power of gov- 
ernment to prevent such measures ; they are supported by individuals 
in their private characters, and do not come within the energj' of the 

Several of these newdy elected delegates will be recognized as members 
of the Assembly. Philip Livingston, the gi-eat merchant — president of 
the convention — was the first choice ; John Alsop, with immense mer- 
cantile interests at stake ; Francis Lewis, also a merchant, a man of 
liberal education and extensive foreign travel ; James Duane, a lawyer of 
large practice and universally conceded abilities ; John Jay, already iu 
the front rank among lawyers, scholars, and political econonusts, despite 
his brief twenty-nine years ; Philip Schuyler, tlie valiant champion of 
popular rights in the Assembly ; liobert R. Livingston, versatile, brdliant, 
and influential ; George Clinton, as wise in council as he was afterwards 
gallant in warfare; Henry Wisner, from Orange County, the chief 
manufacturer of powder for the American army at a later date ; Simon 
Boerum, the assemblyman from King's County during fourteen consecu- 



tive years ^ ; William Floyd, intelligent, active, and discreet ^ ; and Lewis 
Morris, the worthy scion of a powerM family whose influence for more 
than a century had been arrayed against the arbi- 
trary encroachments of the crown. Thus were the 
varied interests of New York represented in this 
important movement towards independence. Men 
of high moral dignity, of sound discretion, of 
wealth and position, of active business habits, and 
cultivated intelligence, men well known and in 
whom the community trusted, and who were in no 
humor to sliirk responsibility or hasten war, were 
to take their seats in the second Continental Con- 
gress which England had tried in vain to suppress. 
Their real as well as professed object was to " con- 
cert measures for tlie preservation of American rights, and for the restora- 
tion of harmony between Great Britain and the Colonies." 

New York had as much more at stake than either New England or 
Vii-ginia, as she was better prepared through generations of schooling in 
the methods of government to cope with the adversaries of liberty. For 
upwards of three fourths of a century New York had been steadily advan- 
cing upon arbitrary power, while the neighboring colonies were compara- 

L £-<«A CAHIOB u gjS^ 

Clinton Arms. 

1 Simon Boerum was born in Holland in 1724, and came to this country with his parents 
when quite young. He married Maria Martense Scheiick of Flatlands. He was clerk ol' 
King's C!ounty from 1750 until his death in 1775, and also clerk of the Board of Supervisors 
some twenty-three years. He owned a considerable tract of land in Brooklyn. 

^ William Floyd was the eldest son of NicoU Floyd, who was the youngest son of Richard 
Floyd and Margaret, daughter of Secretary Matthias NicoU and sister of the famous AVilliam 
KicoU, patentee of the Islip estate. (Vol. I. pp. 208, 374, 507.) He was born December, 1734. 
He was major-general of the militia of Suffolk County ; member of both the first and second 
Continental Congresses ; signed the Declaration of Independence ; and served in tlie Congress 
of 1779, and again in 1788, the first Congress which convened in New York after the adop- 
tion of the Federal Constitution. He was, in 1777, a member of the first Constitutional 
Legislature of the State ; in 1800 he was one of the Electors for President and Vice-President 
of the United States, and on several subsequent occasions acted in the same capacity. For 
a period of more than fifty years he was honored by his fellow-citizens with offices- of trust and 
responsibility. During the war he was driven with his family for shelter to Connecticut, and 
his elegant mansion was appropriated by the enemy, his produce seized, and his woods cut 
down. At the end of seven years the soil was nearly all that remained to him. His first 
wife was Isabella, daughter of AVilliam Jones of Southampton, Long Island. His second wife 
was Joanna, daughter of Benajali Strong of Setauket. His children w-ere Nicoll, who was 
the father of Hon. John G. Floyd, member of Congress from Oneida ; Mary, who married 
Benjamin Tallmadge of Litchfield, Connecticut, • — the mother of Frederick A. and Heniy 
Floyd Tallmadge of New York ; Catharine, who married Dr. Samuel Clarkson ; Ann, who 
married George W. Clinton, son of the vice-president, and for her second husband Abraham 
Varick ; and Eliza, who married Jami-.s Piatt of Utica, New York. Thomj>sou's Lmig Island, 
Vol. 11. 431. 


*5 o 

cc. ft. 


lively at rest imder well-defiued chartered rights. The question whether 
English or French civilization should control in tlie development of the 
American continent had been chiefly determined by New York ; and the 
principles which underlie our republican institutions had first found ex- 
pression in New York. In short, the tree of freedom had been planted 
in the Empire State long before the little plantation of a Dutch mer- 
cantile company had come under kingly rule ; it had taken firm root ; 
it had grown rank despite the frosts of severe displeasure, sometimes 
shooting forth its branches in one direction and sometimes in another, 
putting out a leaf here and a leaf there, and finally budding and blooming 
under the stray sunbeams of a living afl'ection for liberty even while 
constantly assailed by storms of ibreign wratli ; and now its ripening 
fruit is falling — into its neighbors' fields, indeed, who, with their baskets 
ready, hasten to gather it in. 

The New York Convention adjourned on Saturday. The quiet of the 
next morning (Sunday) was broken by the startling news of the 

^ "^ ^ . ApriJ 22. 

battle of Lexington. As the people were assembling for morning 
service in the various churches of the metropolis, a horseman, riding 
furiously down the Bowery Eoad into Broadway, reined in liis^ ^g^ 
steed here and there to recite the events of Wednesday, the 19th 
of April, to little groups of Sunday worshipers on the street. Written 
documents, authenticated by the chief men of all the prominent towns he 
had passed through from Boston to New York, confirmed his every state- 
ment. Amazement, alarm, and indignation took possession of the public 
mind. The British army had attempted to seize and destroy the military 
supjilies at Concord ; an ill-advised and inglorious expedition had resulted 
in a chapter of horrors -with wliich the world is familiar, and in the igno- 
minious flight of well-trained troops before an outraged people ! The 
king's army at this moment were closely beleaguered in Boston with no 
mode of exit except by the sea ! 

New York was aflame with excitement. The news traveled with the 
speed of a whirlwind, and the whole city before noon seemed to have 
risen in resentment. Men hun'ied to and fro, women were met weeping 
on the sidewalks, the churches were deserted in the great feverish impulse 
to learn the miserable truth, and the dinner-hour was forgotten. Although 
it was the Sabbath, men in a body took possession of the City Hall, and 
armed themselves with the munitions it contained. Two vessels laden 
with flour and supplies for the British troops at Boston, just upon the eve 
of sailing, were at once boarded by an impromptu force, headed by Isaac 
Sears and John Lamb, and tlie cargoes, to the value of eighty thousand 
pounds, swiftly unloaded. All vessels about to sail for any uf the British 


possessions were detained. The royal government was powerless in New- 
York ; the people ruled the hour. The keys of the custom-house were 
demanded and the officers dismissed. 

On Monday, while volunteer companies paraded Broadway in defiance- 

of the administration, the Committee of Sixty met in earnest con- 

'' ' sultation ; being invested with no special power except in regard 

to the non-importation agi'eement, a new committee with wider authority 

seemed indispensable. Hence the follo-vving call was issued : — 

NEW- YORK, Committee-Chamber, 

WEDNESDAY, 26tK April, 1775. 

THE CommittecTiaving taken, into Conlidetanon the. Commotion* 
occafioned by the fanguinary Meifures purfued by the Brici{^ 
Mmiftty, and that the Powers with which this Committee is 
inveftcd, rcfoeft only the Affociation. are unanimoufly of 
Opinion, That a new Committee be elefted by the Freeholders 
and Freemen of this City and County, for the prefent unhappy Exigejxcy 
of Affairs, as well as to obferve the Condudl of all Pcrfons touching; the 
Affociation; That the -faid Committee confiil of loo Perfons; that 33 be a 
Quorum, and that they diflblvc within a Fortnight next aftct the End of 
the next Seflions of the Continental Congrcfs. And that the Senfe of the 
Freeholders and Freemen of this City and County, upon this Subjeft, may 
be better procured and afcertained, the Committee are further unanimoufly 
of Opinion, That the Polk be taken on Friday Momiag next, at ^ o' Clock, 
at the ufual Places of ElcAiflnln each Ward, under the Infpcftion of the 
two Veflrymen of each Ward, and two of this Committee, or any two 
of the four j and that at the faid Elcftions the Votes of the Freemen and 
Freeholders, be taken on the following Qucftions, vii. Whether fuch New. 
Committee (hall be conftitufed J andifJ^^a, of whom it ihallcoafift. And 
this Committee- ia further unanimoufly of Opinion, That at the prefent 
alarming Junclure, it is highly advifeable that a Provincial Congrcfe be 
immediately fummoned -, and that it be recommended to the Freeholders 
and Freemen of this City and County, to choofc at the fame Time that 
they vote for the New Committee aforefaid, Twenty Deputies to reprefcnt 
them at the faid Congrcfs. And that a Letter be forthwith prepared and 
difpatchcd tfl all the Counties, rcquefting them to unite with us in forming 
a Provincial Congrcfs, and to appoint their Deputies withoutDclay, to meet 
at New -York, on Monday the 22d of May next. 

By Order of the CommittUy 

ISAAC LOW, Chairman. 


The counties of New York had mauy of them prior to this call assured 
the public through the press of their willingness to stand or fall with 
American liberty.^ Hitherto there had been no occasion for the appoint- 
ment of a Pro\'iucial Congress in New York. It was supposed that such 
a movement would ol)struct all liusiness, prevent the collection of debts, 
destroy the liberty of the press, and involve the country in distress. But 
with the shifting scenes minor considerations were overlooked, and one 
grand impulse seemed to inspire action. While the war-message was 
speeding from village to village through New England, and the popula- 
tion responding in a manner which has found no parallel in history, New 
York unhesitatingly took another firm, unfaltering step in the direction 
of Independence. 

Through the length and breadth of New England no time was con- 
sumed in asking if resistance were practicable ; no delay for the want of 
a union formed or leaders proclaimed. Men hurried from the fields, the 
work-shops, and the barns, and ministers came from their studies,"'^ every 
one with a gun, and a bit of limch in his hat or pocket; po.ssibly a few 
necessaries packed in a pillow-case by wife or daughter. In some towns, 
companies were organized after a fashion on the village green. For the 
most part the enlistments were on the prime condition of indi'vidual con- 
venience or pleasure. Thus the volunteer was as free to go away as to 

' A humorous writer of the liay, after recording the action of the inhabitants of Duchess 
County in refusing to subscribe to the doctrine of passive obedience and non-resistance, thus 
ridicules the " advocates of ministerial oppression " who were at the same time assembled in 
Convention : " After business, then a dinner, which is to consist of many dishes, but I can- 
not pretend to express the sumptuousness nor variety of them ; there is, however, to be good 
English roast-beef, ewe mutton, and lamb, both roast and boiled, and all well seasoned with 
certain spices brought from the East Indies ; next is to come a pompous pye, on one side of 
which is to be seen a viper, and on the other a pigeon, both curiously formed in paste, denot- 
ing the wisdom of the serpent and the innocence of the dove, and on the top a cormorant, 
with a njinisterial mandate in his mouth ; the salad is to consist entirely oi celery imd pctiinj- 
royal, which it is expected the guests will devour very greedily. But how vain would it lie to 
attemi)t a description of the whole entertainment ; all will be elegant, sumptuous, and polite, 
though there will be no dessert ; as for the wines, they are to be particularly such as have been 
lately imported from Maderia or the Western Islands, if such are to be had ; for you must 
know that they intend to eat and diink what they please, consistent with the laws of the land ; 
notwithstanding the Association entered into by the Continental Congress. Towards evening 
the TEA-table, with all its equippages and appurtenances, is to be brought in ; the landlady 
will be confoundedly puzzled to suit the company, as there 's no India Company's tea to be 
had, and tea they will have, notwithstanding this meeting is to be after the first day of 

March. What then is to lie done ? Why, give us Dutch tea, if you have no other How 

comfortable to the more ignorant part of the Convention, who have been drawn in to sign the 
creed, to see their leaders indulge in diversions and pleasures, which is a sure sign that the 
ship is safe, and in a calm." New York Gazette, March 20, 1773. 

^ In Danvers, Asa Putnam, a deacon of the chiirch, was chosen Captain of the minute-men 
and Rev. Mr. Wadsworth, the pastor, was made his First Lieutenant. 


rush into the tray. There were no uniforms, and no equipments. On the 
soldiers' rapid march to the seat of the disturbance the inhabitants 
along the route gladly spread their tables, and all things were in com- 
mon. The British officers were confounded when they saw the besiegers 
perched in Cambridge as a central camp, with wide-spread wings stretch- 
ing from Chelsea on the left, almost round to Dorchester on the right, 
covering about three quarters of a circle of headlands, slopes, peninsulas, 
and eminences, themselves thus hemmed in by an unorganized, fluc- 
tuating mass of humanity filled with the spirit and intent of a military 
host. The bitter mortification of the proud and most experienced soldiers 
of the English realm, freshly laureled in recent wars, was only equaled by 
the sufferings which came with their confinement, since their magazines 
were unfilled, and supplies of every description were cut off, rendering 
their diet unwholesome and meager. They were rich in every form of 
water-craft, ships of war, gun-boats, transports, floats, and barges; but even 
with these they could not venture near the shore of main or island. The 
tide-soaked marshes between the two combating forces then doubled the 
present width of the rivers ; and there were no bridges in the region, save 
on the side of Cambridge towards Brighton. The salt flats had no cause- 
ways over them, and the only route between any two places was by a 
long detour. The chief roads and all the high points were cautiously 
guarded. Hence the humiliated generals of England's monarch saw no way 
out of their disgraceful dilemma, until reinforcements should reach them 
from the other side of the Atlantic. General Gage, at the solicitation 
of some of the leading citizens of Boston assembled in Eaneuil Hall, 
agreed to allow such of the people as desired, to i-emove from the city, if 
they would leave their arms behind them and covenant to abstain alto- 
gether from hostilities. Many of the suffering and frightened families, 
whose means of procuring food were made precarious by the seige, availed 
themselves of the permission. But their effects were subjected to a rigid 
examination ; and presently the devoted loyalists, of whom there were 
not a few, objected to the liberty afforded their neighbors of removal, 
under whatever circumstances, as it would furnish the provincials more 
excuse for violence should they attack the city. There were timid neu- 
trals, and there were spies, who remained quietly in Boston. These latter 
watched all movements and communicated with their friends outside. 
The population of Boston, independent of the military, was then about 
eighteen thousand. The town of Charlestown, which lay under the Brit- 
ish guns, contained some two or three thousand souls. The interruption 
of employment brought poverty, and the people fled from Charlestown 
in every direction, until there were less than two hundred remaining. 



The colonial forces were loosely officered, and under no national author- 
ity whatsoever. No war had been declared, and there was no nation to 
declare war. The Continental Congress had not as yet decided upon the 
need of an army. They had no munitions of war nor the means with 
which to procure them. A self-constituted Provincial Congress discharged 
legislative functions in Massachusetts, and a Committee of Safety directed 
in military affairs. A Council of War was also instituted, with an unde- 
fined range as to advice and authority, sometimes mischievously interfer- 
ing with or confusing the arrangements and measures of the Committee of 
Safety. The field officers held place and rank according to the inclination 
and partialities of the privates, and were liable to be superseded or dis- 
obeyed at any moment.^ Indeed, the fighting elements, drawn together 
by the excitement of the hour, were subject to discord and disintegration,, 
and could act in concert only by yielding themselves to the influence of 
the spirit which had ^vrenched them from their various occupations at the 
busiest season of the year. They did not feel their lack of discipline nor 
realize its probalile conseciuences. They were re.stless under restraint,. 
and eager for action. In the Committee of Safety and in the Council 
of War there were directing minds, and a wide difference of opinion, as to 
the safe and expedient course to be pursued. Daring enterprises were 
discussed, but little could be attempted while there was hardly powder 
enough in the camp for a successful target expedition.^ 

In accordance with the call, New York city and county elected, on 
Mav 1, a new Committee of One Hundred to control in all general „ 

' ^. May 1. 

affiairs * ; and as the powers of the Convention (so recently in ses- 
sion) had expired with the choice of delegates to the Continental Con- 

1 Hidory of the. Battle of Bunker's (Breed's) Uill, by George E. Ellis. 
- Lord llahon's History of England, 64, 65, 66. 

^ The iollowing are the names of the Committee of One Hundred chosen in this emer- 
gency : — 

Gabriel H. Ludlow. 29. 

Nicholas Hofinian. 30. 

Abraham Walton. 31. 

Peter Van Schaack. 32. 

Henry Remsen. 33. 

Peter T. Curtenius. 34. 

Abraham Brasher. 35. 

Abraham P. Lott. 36. 

Abraham Duryee. 37. 

Joseph Bull. 38. 

Francis Lewis. 39. 

Joseph Totten. 40. 

Thomas Ivers. 41. 

Hercules Mulligan. 42. 


Isaac Low. 



Philip Livingston. 



James Duane. 



John Alsop. 



John Jay. 



Peter V. B. Livingston. 



Isaac Sears. 



David Johnson. 



Alexander McDougall. 



Thomas Randall. 



Leonard LispenarJ. 



William Walton. 



John Broom. 



Joseph Hallett. 


John Anthony. 
Francis Bassett. 
Victor Bicker. 
John White. 
Theophilus Anthony. 
William Gnforth. 
William Denning. 
Isaac Roosevelt. 
Jacob Van Voorhees. 
Jeremiah Piatt. 
Comfort Sand.s. 
Robert Benson. 
William W. Gilbert. 
John Berrien. 



gress/ all parts of the colony of New York had been summoned, and at 
the same time (May 1) elected delegates to represent them in a Provincial 

Eighty-three members of the new Committee of One Hundred met as 
soon as chosen ; and on the motion of John Morin Scott, seconded by 
Alexander INIacDougall, an association was j^rojected, engaging under all 
the ties of religion, honor, and love of country, to submit to committees 
and to Congress, to withhold supplies from British troops, and at the 
risk of lives and fortunes to repel every attempt at enforcing taxation by 
Parliament. Golden described in a letter to Dartmouth, under date of 
May 3, how the people of New York had " entirely prostrated the powers 
•of Government, and produced an association by which this Province has 
solemnly united with the others in resisting the Acts of Parliament." 

On the 5th of May a packet sailed for England. Among the passen- 
gers were two agents sent by the counselors of the disabled gov- 

May 5. *' o J ^ o 

ernment of New York, to represent to the Ministry how severely 
the rash conduct of the army at Boston had injured the cause of the king. 
The Committee of One Hundred addressed by the same vessel the mayor 
and corporation of London, and through them the capital of the British 
Empire and people of Great Britain, saying : — 

" This country wUl not be deceived by measures conciliatory in appearance. 
.... America is grown so irritable by oppression, that the least shock, in any 
part, is, by the most powerful sympathetic affection, instantaneously felt through 


Gabriel W. Ludlow. 


Augustus Van Horn. 


Benjamin Helme. 


Nicholas Roosevelt. 


Garrat Keteltas. 


Walter Franklin. 


Edward Fleming. 


Eleazer Miller. 


Darid Beekmau. 


Lawrence Embree. 


Benjamin Kissam. 


William Seton. 


Samuel Jones. 


John Morin Scott. 


Evert Banker. 


John DeLancey. 


Cornelius Clopper. 


Robert Ray. 


Frederic Jay. 


John Read. 


ilich'' Bogert (Broadway). 


William W. Ludlow. 


John Van Cortlandt. 


William Laight. 


John B. Jloore. 


Jacobus Van Zaudt. 


Samuel Broom. 


Rudolphus Ritzind. 


Gerardus Duyckiuck. 


John Lamb. 


Lindley Murray. 


Peter Goelet. 


Daniel Phoeni.ic. 


Lancaster Burling. 


John Marston. 


Anthony Van Dam. 


John La.sher. 


Thomas Marston. 


Daniel Dunscomb. 


George Janaway. 


John Morton. 


John Imlay. 


James Beeknian. 


George Folliot. 


Oliver Templeton. 


Samuel Verplanck. 


Jacobus Lefferts. 


Lewis Pintard. 


Richard Yates. 


Richard Sharp. 


Cornelius P. Low. 


David Clarkson. 


Hamilton Young. 


Thomas Buchannan. 


Thomas Smith. 


Abraham Brinkerhoff. 


Petrus Byvank. 


James Desbrosses. 

1 Jouriuil of the Provincial Conventio7i, New York Hist. Soc. 


the whole continent. The city (of Xew York) are as one mail in the cause of 
liberty ; our inhabitants are resolutely bent on supporting their ooiumittee, and 
the intended Provincial and Continental Congresses ; there is not the least 
doubt of the efficacy of their example in the other counties. In short, while the 
whole continent ardently wishes for peace upon such terms as can be acceded to 
by Englishmen, they are indefatigable in preparing for the last appeal. 

" We speak the real sentiments of the confederated Colonies, from Xova Scotia 
to Georgia, when we declare tliat all the horrors of civil war will never compel 
America to submit to taxation by authority of Parliament." 

These brave words were written in the full light of the knowledge 
that there were not five hundred pounds of powder in the length and 
breadth of the metropolis, that British troops were already ordered to New 
York, that it was commanded by Brooklyn Heights, and that the deep 
water of its harbor exposed it on both sides to ships of war. The letter 
was signed by eighty-nine of the One Hundred, of whom the first was 
John Jay. 

The following day the delegates from Massachusetts and Connecticut 
to the Continental Cnntrress at Philadelphia drew near ; thev were 

'^ ■ May 6. 

met on ^Murray Hill, three miles from the city, by a company of 
grenadiers, and a regiment of the city militia under arms, and by carriages 
and a cavalcade, and many thousands of persons on foot ; and along roads 
which were crowded as if the whole city had turned out to do tliem 
honor, and amid shouts and huzzas, the ringing of bells and every 
demonstration of jov, they made their entrv into Xew York, where they 
spent the Sabbath. 

On Monday, two days later, they were joined by several of the Xew 
York delegates, and with great ceremony escorted by several hun- 
dred of the militia under arms, and by a much larger number of 
patriotic citizens, across the water on their way to Philadelphia, pausing 
in Newark and Elizabethtown, where triumphal honors awaited them. 

Events followed each other with the swiftness of the whirlwind. Rev. 
Myles Cooper, the second President of King's College, who had been 
elected to that honorable position in 1763, while only twenty-eight years 
of age, had been writing for the press with great force and elegance of 
diction, on the subject of colonial relation to England. A tract had re- 
cently appeared from his pen entitled "A Friendly Address to aU Eeason- 
able Americans on the Subject of our Political Confusions." His habits 
and opinions had been fashioned from the old Oxford pattern, and the 
popular party were not in any humor to tolerate his scholarly arguments 
against opposing the king's troops. On the night of the 10th of 
May a mob forcibly entered his lodging in the college with mur- 


der inteut. A studeut warning bini m time, he escaped, half-dressed, by 
jumping over the college fence, and found shelter in the house of one of 
the Stuyvesants until he could reach a vessel bound for England. ^ 

John Holt, who edited the Neiv York Journal, was one of the most 
fearless of printers ; having in 1774 discarded the 
arms of the king as an ornamental heading for his 
jDaper, and substituted the device of a snake cut 
into parts, with " Unite or die " for a motto, he 
about this time issued the snake joined and coiled, 
with the tail in its mouth, forming a double ring; 
within the coil was a pillar standing on Magna 
Holt's Snake Device. QoxtA, surmountcd with the cap of Liberty. 
As the delegates of New England and New York were traveling through 
New Jersey and bearing with them to their goal the sense of the popula- 
tion as well as the declaration of the New Jersey Assembly " to abide by 
the united voice of the Continental Congress," a scheme, discussed in 
private by Adams and Hancock with the governor and council of Con- 
necticut while in Hartford a few days before, was taking effect in a master 
stroke of military policy. A party of volunteers under the command of 
Ethan Allen were on the march towards Ticonderoga. They were chiefly 
from Salisbury, Berkshire, and Bennington, having been fitted out from 
the funds in the Connecticut treasury. In the gray of the morning of that 
eventful 10th of May which inaugurated the opening of the second Con- 
tinental Congress, the fortress of Ticonderoga, which cost England 
^^ ' eight million pounds sterling, a succession of campaigns, and an 
immense amount of human life, fell into the hands of the Americans after 
a siege of ten minutes, without the loss of a single man. 

Allen's party numbered eighty-three; they broke through the closed 
gate of the fort, disarmed the guards, raising at the same instant the 
Indian war-whoop, — such an unnatural yell as had not been heard in aU 
that region since the days of Montcalm, — and formed on the parade in 
hollow square so as to face each of the barracks. One of the sentries, 
after receiving a slight wound, cried for quarter, and guided Allen to the 
apartment of the commanding ofticer. 

" Come forth instantly, or I will sacrifice the whole garrison ! " Allen 
shouted through the door. 

1 Rev. Myles Cooper, LL. D., wa.s born in England in 1735. He was educated at Oxford, 
and afterwards made a Fellow of Queen's College. He published an octavo volume of poems 
in 1761. He enjoyed a distinguished re|iutation for scholarship. After his escape to England 
he was made pastor of the First Episcopal Chajiel in Edinburgh, where he died in 1785. His 
portrait is presen'ed in Columbia College ; he is said to have borne a striking resemblance 
to the poet Dryden. 


Delaplace, the commander, appeared undressed, with his garments in 
his hand. 

" Deliver to me the furt instantly ! " was the salutation with which he 
■was welcomed. 

" By what authority ? " he asked in amazement. 

" In the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress ! " 
was the quick response. 

Delaplace attempted io speak again, but was peremptorily interrupted 
by Allen, who flourished a drawn sword over his head. Seeing \w alter- 
native, Delaplace surrendered the garrison, and ordered his men to be 
paraded without arms. 

With the fortress were captured fifty pi'isoners, more than a lumdred 
pieces of cannon, one thirteen-inch mortar, and a number of swivels, stores 
and small arms. Crown Point was taken a little later by a detachment 
under Seth Warner, the garrison of twelve men suiTendering upon the 
first summons. And furthermore, the only British vessel on Lake Cham- 
plain yielded to the bravery of Benedict Arnold. Alas ! Great Britain 
was actually at war with herself. 

And now all eyes were turned towards the Congress at Philadelphia. 
A more doubtful body of men was probably never convened since the 
world was made. They could copy nothing past, be guided by no prece- 
dent, proceed not after the manner of great inventors, but depend entirely 
upon the gradual unfolding of the internal necessity of the community. 
They had no place of meeting, but were indebted to the courtesy of the 
carpenters of the Quaker City for the use of the hall wherein they held 
their sessions ; they had no treasury ; they had no authority to le-\y taxes 
or to borrow money ; they had no soldiers enlisted, and not one civil or 
military officer to carry out their orders ; they were not an executive 
government, they were not even a legislative body ; they had no powers 
save those of counsel. They represented simply the unformed opinions 
of an unformed people. 

The thirteen American provinces were inhabited, by men of French, 
Dutch, Swedish, and German ancestry, as well as English. Tliis new 
directing intelligence must respect the masses, one fifth of whom bad tor 
their mother tongue some other language than the Anglo-Saxon. They 
must not ignore the Quakers, who considered it wicked to fight ; nor yet 
the Calvinists, whose religious creed encouraged resistance to tyranny. 
They must remember the freeholders, whose pride in their liberties and 
confidence in their power to defend the lands which their own hands had 
subdued rendered them impatient and headstrong; and also the mer- 
chants, whose ships and treasures M'ere afloat, and who dreaded war as the 


foreshadowing of their own bankruptcy. The immediate declaration of 
independence was an impossibility. Massachusetts, almost exclusively 
of British origin, might reach a result with short time for reflection. 
Congress must take a broader view. Not only the various nationalities, 
but the religious creeds, numerous as embraced by all Europe, must be 
molded into something like unity before the American mind could be 
liberated from allegiance to the past and enlisted in the formation of one 
great state. A creative impulse waited for the just solution of an intri- 
cate problem. Time and circumstances were to foster a sublime sentiment 
superior to race or language. Meantime it was the sense of oppression 
rather than exalted love for country which now rided the multitude. The 
members of Congress saw with fatal clearness the total want of any prepa- 
ration for war. The narrow powers with which they were intrusted by 
their constituents argued forcibly against any change, where change was 
not demanded by instant necessity. They were divided and undecided. 
They resisted every forward movement, and made none but by compulsion. 
And yet it was their glorious office, through the natural succession of in- 
evitable events, to cement a union and constitute a nation. 

On the following day the New York Committee of One Hundred ad- 
dressed lieutenant-governor Colden in a carefully worded and digni- 

"^ ' fied document, setting forth how the city and county, as well as the 
rest of the Colony of New York, had waited with patience, in vain, for " a 
redress of the many unconstitutional burdens under which the whole con- 
tinent had groaned for many years," and that at this most interesting 
crisis, when their all was at stake, and the sword drawn by the adminis- 
tration against the people of Massachusetts for asserting their invaluable 
rights, the common inheritance of all Britons, whether in England or 
America, they had proceeded to associate in the common cause, and 
claimed as their birthright a total exemption from all taxes, internal or 
external, by authority of Parliament. At the same time they were deeply 
concerned in regard to the mischief and bloodshed which would ensue 
from the encampment of British troops in the city of New York, and 
besought Colden to apply to General Gage for orders to prevent the land- 
ing of such as were on the sea bound for this port, and daily expected. 

The final paragi-aph of the communication was as follows : — 

" Give us leave, Sir, to conchide by assuring you, that we are determined to 
improve that confidence with which the People have honored us, in strengthen- 
ing the hand of the civil Magistrate in every lawful! measure calculated to pro- 
mote the Peace and just Rule of this metropolis, and consistent with that jeal- 
ous attention which above all things we are bound to pay to the violated Eights 
of America." 



Coldeu replied May l:>, saying, he could not conceive upon what 
grounds a suspicion was entertained that the city of New York 
was to be reduced to the present state of Boston. He denied hav- 
ing had the least intimation that any " regular troops were destined for 
this province." And he specially exhorted the committee to carry into 
effect their assurances of strengthening the hands of the civil magistrates, 
adding : " Let this be done immediately, and with impartial firmness on 
every occasion; that the houses, persons, and property of your feUow- 
citizens may not be attacked with impunity, and every degi'ee of domestic 
security and happiness sapped to its foundation." 

The Provincial Congress assembled in the city May 23. Golden wrote 
to Dartmouth shortly afterward : — 

" You will not be surprised to hear that congresses and committees are estab- 
lished in this government and acting with all the confidence and authority of a 
legal goveruineut. The Provincial Congress of this province, now setting, con- 
sists of upwards of one hunch-ed members. The city committee and sub- 
committees in the country places are likewise kept up ; that the new plan of 
government may be complete for the carrying into execution the determination 
of the Continental and Provincial Congresses." 

The names of those who organized themselves into a legislative body 
at this critical juncture reveal much more of the real republican spirit 
which pervaded New York, than shining narrations of riotous outbreaks 
from gifted pens.' Many of theui are already associated in the reader's 
mind witli the most important events of colonial New York. Others 

' Members of the First Provincial Congress which met in New York City, May 23, 1775. 

Isaac Low, 

Peter Van Biugh Livingston, 

Ale.xauder McIJougall, 

Leonard Lispenard, 

Joseph HaUett, 

Abraham Walton, 

Abraham Brasier, 

Isaac Roosevelt, 

John De Lancey, 

James Beekman, 

Samnel Verplapck, 

Richard Yates, 

David I larkson, 

Thomas Smith, 

Benjamin Kissam, 

John Morin Scott, 

John Van Cortlandt, 

Jacobus Van Zandt, 

John Marston, 

George FoUiot, 
Walter Franklin, 
For City d: County of N. Y. 

Robert Yates, 
Abraham Yates, 
Volkert P. Douw, 
Jacob Cuyler, 
Peter Silvester, 
Dirck Swart, 
Walter Livingston, 
Robert Van Rensselaer, 
Henr\- Glen, 
Abraham Ten Broeck, 
Francis Nicoll, 
For CUiiii- County of Albany. 

Dirck Brinckcrhoff, 
Anthony Hoffman, 

Zephaniah Piatt, 
Ricliard Montgomery, 
Ephraim Paine, 
Gilbert Livingston, 
Jonathan Laudon, 
Oysbert Schenck, 
Melaucton Smith, 
Nathaniel Sackett, 
For Ducliess County. 

Colonel Johannes Hardenburgh, 
Colonel James Clinton, 
Christopher Tappan, 
John Nicholson, 
Jacob Hoornbeck, 
For Ulster County. 

John Coe, 
David Pye, 
For Orange County. 



were borne by influential private citizens and wealthy business men, who, 
although indisposed to hasten acts of violence, coolly imperiled their all 
by such unusual proceedings. Benjamin Kissam, for instance, was an 
educated and aljle lawyer, in whose oftice John Jay and Lindley Murray 
had been law-students together. He was a man of sterling qualities, and 
one who commanded universal respect. His wife was Catharine llutgers. 
He and his family were on terms of special social intimacy with William 
Livingston ; and he was one of the famous coterie of lawyers — the " Moot " ^ 
— which met to discuss legal questions only, of which Livingston was pres- 
ident, and such men as James Duane, Eobert E. Livingston, Egbert Ben- 
son, Whitehead Hicks, William Wickham, Gouverneur Morris, Jolm Jay, 
William Smith, Eichard Morris, Samuel Jones, Stephen De Lancey, John 
Morin Scott, and John Watts, Jr., regular attendants. His brother, Daniel 
Kissam, was also an eminent lawyer and a judge in Queen's County, where 
he married Mary Betts. The Kissams were of purely English origin, the 
first of the name having early settled in Flushing,^ and in the various 
generations since have perhaps contributed more valuable men to the legal 
and medical professions than any other of the old New York iamilies. 

Michael Jackson, 
Benjamin Tusteen, 
Peter Clowes, 
William Allison, 
For Goshen County. 

Colonel Nathaniel Woodhull, 

John Sloss Hobart, 

Thomas Tredwell, 

John Foster, 

Ezra L'Hommedieu, 

Thomas Wickham, 

James Havens, 

Selah Strong, 

For Suffolk County. 

Gouverneur Morris, 
Lewis Graham, 
James Van Cortlandt, 
Stephen Ward, 
Josepli Drake, 
Philip Van Cortlandt, 
James Holmes, 
David Dayton, 
Jolm Thomas, Jr., 
Robert Graliam, 

William Paulding, 

For Jl'cstcht'stcr Cowntij. 

Henry Williams, 
Jeremiah Remsen, 

For Brookhjn, King's Comity. 

Paul Michean, 
John Journey, 
Aaron Cortelyou, 
Richard Conner, 
Richard Lawrence, 
For Pdchmmxd County. 

1 See Vol. I., 644 (note). The discussions were conducted with great gravity ; and it is 
traditionary that the conclusions reached were considered as settling the law on those points, 
thus giving to the " Moot" the character of a court of the last resort. 

- John Kissam, the common ancestor of the family in America, married Susannah Thome, 
and settled in Flushing, Long Island. Daniel, Ids son, married Elizabeth Combs ; their 
children were, Daniel, Joseph, Elizabeth, Hannah, and Martha. Daniel (2d) married Ann 
Mott, and Joseph (1st) man-ied Deborah Wliitehead ; the children of the latter were, Daniel 
Whitehead (who married Ann Duryea), Josei>h ('2d), Benjamin (the lawyer referred to above), 
Phcebe, and Hewlett. Benjamin Kissam and C'atharine Rutgers had five sons (two of whom, 
Benjamin and Richard S., were educated at Edinburgh, and became distinguished pliysicians 
in New York, Dr. Benjamin being " Professor of the Institute of Medicine " in Columbia Col- 
lege from 1785 to 1792, a trustee of the college, vestryman of Trinity Church, etc.), and one 
daughter, Helena, who married Philip Hoflman, and was the great-grandmother of ex-Gov- 
ernor John T. Hottman. Samuel Kissam, a brother of Benjamin and Daniel, received the 
first degree of M. D. conferred in this country by King's CoUege (in 1769), and became a cele- 
brated physician in the West Indies. 

THE VAy zasjjts of sew york. 


ipulent family of as purely 

Jacobus Van Zaudt represented an 
Holland origin, 
the ancestors 
of whom were 
men of note on 
the Continent. 
Wynant Van 
Zandt, styled 
in the reconls, 
held important 
trusts under 
Charles I. In 
1638 he was i, 
by that mon- 
arch as agent 
for England of 
the city of Am- 
sterdam, to act 
in connection 
with the Brit- 
ish minister in 
regard to cer- 
tain matters of 

moment. The first of tlie name settled in New York about 1682.^ His 
son Wynant, educated in Europe, married a Dutch lady ; their home in 
William Street for a decade was one of refinement and luxury, many 
relics of which in old and elaborately wrought silver, a carved chair of 
state, etc., are still preserved, as well as tlie portraits from wliich the 
above sketches are copied. They had six sons, of whom Jacobus,^ the 
elder, occupied the old homestead in ITTri. Fired with the true Dutch 
spirit in which he had been bred, he was quickly ranked among those who 
declared for resistance, and was a most useful member of this Congress. 

1 Johannes Van Zandt married Margareta Van der V'oel in 1681. and cniigrated from the 
city of Anlieira, Holland, to New York, in 1682. His son, Wynant (of the sketch), was 
born in New York in 168.3, and died in 1763. Wynant's son Wynant was bom in 1730, and 
died in 1814. And Wynant, son of Wj-n.aut cid), was born in 1767, and died in 1S31. Thus 
there were three AVynant Van Zandts in Old New York, all men of wealth and worth In 
their generation. Also AVynant, grandson of Wynant (3d), ami his son Wynant of to-day. 
The full-length portraits of Wynant Van Zandt and his beautiful wife (painted holding a 
tulip in her hand) were on exhibition at Peale's Museum at the time of the great Hre. 

2 .Tacobns was surgeon in tlie ainiy under Wasliington at Valley Forge and Trenton, and 


Portrait of Wynant Van Zandt. 
From an ori^' [■aiming in possession of the family. 



David Clarksou, second son of Hon. David Clarkson, so long active in 

New York city 
afi'au's, was a 
grandson of the 
Matthew Clark- 
son, notable as 
Secretary of the 
Province, whose 
father was an 
eminent Eng- 
lish divine and 
whose mother 
was of royal 
descent.^ Da- 
vid (2d) was 
one of the sub- 
stantial men of 
the city at this 
period, — wide- 
ly known and 
widely honored, 
middle - aged, 
rich without 
pride, and lib- 
eral without os- 
tentation. He, like his father before him, had been educated in Europe 

Portrait of Mrs. Wynant Van Zandt. 
From an orii,'inal p.iiutlng in possession of tlie family. 

served honorably his country throughout the 
Revolution. His wife and beautiful daughter, 
Catharine (born in 1760), fled to Morristown, 
New Jersey, during the occupation of New 
York by the English. It was this Miss Van 
Zandt who was one of the leading belles at the 
Inauguration Ball of our first President, and 
married, in 1788, James Homer Maxwell, son 
of the founder of the first banking establish- 
ment in New York. In 1796, Louis Philippe, 
while in New York, was entertained by Wy- 
nant Van Zandt (3d), and after his return to 
France wrote an autograph letter of thanks for 
the hospitality shown him, sending at the same 
time to Van Zandt a beautiful watch-seal as 
a token of appreciation and remembrance, of 
which the sketch is a careful copy. A 

^ Rev. David Clarkson was born at Brad- 
ford, England, in 1622, and completed his studies at Caiubriilge University about 1642. He 

Gift from Loui 

Watch Seal. 

I'iiilippe d'Orleans to Wynant Van Zandt 


and seen much of the world. He nmriied, in 1749, Elizabeth French, the 
sister of Mrs. William Livingston and Mrs. David Van Home. Shortly 
afterward he built upon the Clarkson property, corner of Whitehall and 
Pearl streets, an elegant mansion, which was considered at the time an 
" ornament " to the metropolis, but which was swept away by the great 
fire of 1776. It was sumptuously furnished, some of the European impor- 
tations consisting of beautiful curtains, and stuffed sofas and easy-chairs 
(made in London), " mirrors in carved gold frames," works of art, por- 
traits, ancient relics, fine table-service in costly porcelain, cut glass, and 
silver plate, and a library embracing the popular novels and standard 
works of the day.^ The household servants, as in many other of the New 

manieil Elizabeth, daughter of Sii- Henry Holcraft, Knight, M. P., etc, and Lettice, daughter 
of Francis, Lord Aungier, wlio was of the same family as the sovereigns of England. Their 
son, Matthew Clarkson, was appointed .Secretary of the Province of New York under William 
and Mary, and in 1692, January 19, married Catharine, daughter of Hon. Goosen Gerritse 
Van Schaick of Albany. (Vol. 1. 370. The Clarkscms of New York, Vol. I. 126.) The 
Van Schaicks were one of the important Dutch families of New York. One of Mrs. Clark- 
son's sisters, Gerritje, born 1658, married Andries Drayer, Rear-Admiral in the Danish navy, 
and their daughter, Anna Dorothea, married the Rev. Thomas Barclay, and they were the 
ancestors of the Barclays of New York. Another sister, Engeltje, born in 1659, married the 
famous Colonel Peter Schuyler, first Mayor of Albany. Another sister, Margreta, born in 
1665, married in 1705 the Rev. Bernardus Freeman, whose only child became the wife of 
her cousin, the Hon. David Clarkson. And still another sister, Anna Maria, married John 
Van Coi-tlandt, son of the Hon. Stephanus Van Cortlandt, and their daughter Gertrude mar- 
ried Philip Verplanck. 

Secretary Matthew Clarkson's children were ; 1, Elizabeth, died in infancy ; 2, David, born 
in 1694, married Ann JIargaret Freeman in 1724, and died April 7, 1751 ; 3, Leviuus, born 
1696, died in Holland, unmarried, October 6, 1769 ; 4, Matthew, born 1699, married in 1718 
to Cornelia De Peyster, daughter of Johannes De Peyster ; among their descendants have been 
many eminent personages, as, for instance, Matthew Clarkson, Mayor of Philadelphia and 
Member of Congress ; Gerardus Clarkson, a prominent physician ; Rev. Dr. Howard Crosby, 
Chancellor of the University of New York ; Rev. Dr. Robert Harper Clarkson of the Epis- 
copate of Nebraska ; and Anna, who died in Holland unmarried. In 1718 the three brothers 
mentioned, David, Levinus, and Matthew, were established as merchants in London , Amster- 
dam, and New York respectively. David in the course of si-x years returned, married as 
above, and settled in New York. He was in five successive Assemblies (1739-1751), and was 
one of the most tenacious in his constantly expressed opinion that the colonists were entitled 
to all the privileges of Englishmen, and was in every instance on the side of resistance when 
the liberties of the people came in question. His children were : 1, Freeman, died in 1770, 
unmarried ; 2, David, bom 1726, married Elizabeth French, died 1782 ; 3, Matthew, died 
young; 4, Streatfield, died young ; 5, Matthew, born 1733, married Elizalieth De Peyster, 
daughter of Treasurer Abraham De Pey-ster, in 1758, died in 1772 ; 6, Levinus, born 1737, 
died young ; 7, Levinus, born 1740, married Mary Van Home, died 1798. 

1 In one of the private letters of Mr. Clarkson to a friend in England in 1767, he requests 
the gentleman's wife to buy for Mrs. Clarkson " twenty-four yards of best bright blue satin, 
and a fashionable winter cloak of crimson satin for lier own use " ; also, " a handsome silver 
bread-basket, openwork, light and thin, with the crest, a griffin's head, upon it " ; a carpet 
wa.s at the same time ordered with a green ground. David Clarkson and his wife, Fllizabeth 


York families of the time, were chiefly negro slaves. The summer resi- 
dence of the family was at Flatbush, Long Island. David Clarkson was 
one of those who advanced money to the state and city for revolutionary 
purposes, and his two sons, David and Matthew (the former twenty-four 
and the latter nineteen), were among the foremost to offer their lives in 
fighting the Ijattles of the country ; Matthew was early appointed an aide- 
de-camp to General Arnold. 

A more peculiar condition of human affairs was never chronicled than 
at this juncture. In defiance of kingly authority a Continental Congress 
was in session which recognized the existing royal government of New 
York, tolerated its governor, and aU naval and military ofiicers, contrac- 
tors, and Indian agents, and instructed the city and countv not 

May 15. ''. '' 

to oppose the landing of troops, but to prevent the erection of 
fortifications for their benefit ; and under any circumstances to act simply 
■on the defensive. It also recommended the provision of warlike stores 
and a safe retreat for the women and children ; in accordance with which 
latter clause, though in direct conflict with preceding directions, John 
Lamb — afterwards general — obtained a vessel from Connecticut, and 
with a resolute band of men passed up in the night to Turtle Bay, sur- 
prising the guard and capturing a quantity of the king's military stores 
there deposited, a portion of which were at once forwarded to the army 
at Cambridge, an exploit of signal service to the country. 

The Provincial Congress of New York came together after these rules 
had been laid down for their province, and voted obedience to the 

May 22. 

Continental Congress so far as the general regulation of the asso- 
ciated colonies were concerned, but declared themselves competent to 
" freely deliberate and determine all matters relative to the internal police 
of New Y''ork." They made no effort to interfere with the royal oiiicers, 
while their own edicts were executed to the letter. The Asia, a British 
war vessel, was allowed to obtain provisions from the city; but inter- 
course between the ship and shore was restrained. When a little later 
one of the Adas boats was destroyed by some rash and irritated citizens, 
it was restored at the expense of the city. 

" Why such scrui^ulous timidity ? Why suffer the king's forces to 
possess themselves of the most important post in America ? " asked 
Edmund Burke in passionate indignation. 

French, had eight children, as follows : 1, Dayid, horn 1750, died in infancy ; 2, David, 
born 1751, married Jane Mettick, was an officer in the Reyohition, died 1825 ; 3, Philip, born 
1754, died in infancy; 4, Freeman, born 1756, manied Henrietta Clarkson, died 1810; 
6, Matthew, born 1758, served in aimy through the war, married 1st, Mary Rutherford, 2d, 
Sarah Cornell, died 1825 ; 6, Ann Margaret, born 1761, married Garrit Van Home in 1784, 
died 1824 ; 7, Thomas Streatfield, born 1763, married Elizabeth Van Home in 1790, died 
1844 ; 8, and Levinus, bom 1765, married Ann Mary Van Home, died 1845. 


" Because there is no effective military organization, no artillery, no 
ammunition, no means of protection ibr New York," was the reply of one 
who saw the madness of hastening hostilities before the semblance of 
preparation had been effected. 

The formation of the American Republic must ever be a theme of 
wonder, and constitute one of the most novel chapters in the history of 
mankind. The hazard of attempting self-government, of which internal 
anarchy is quite as much to be apprehended as the fate of those con- 
cerned in case of failure, is clear to every intelligent mind. But it will 
be observed that wherever the power of Great Britain was disavowed in 
the colonies it passed naturally into the hands of the people, and in the 
methods of election, whether of committees or congresses, there was judi- 
cious, uniform, and systematic management. The leaders were so cautious 
that the power should actually and visibly come from the people, that 
there was no instance of a member of any elective body on the continent 
taking his seat without exhibiting a well-authenticated certificate that he 
was duly chosen. In New York City the certificate was signed by the 
vestrymen of the wards ; in some parts of the State, by the chairman of 
■coumiittees, moderators and clerks of town-meetings, or by judges and 
justices. Thus confidence was estaldished and union cemented. In no 
colony was there more perfect harmony between the elected and the 
electors than in New Y'ork ; and the wisdom of moderation was nowhere 
else more pronounced and praiseworthy. 

The New York Congress was opened and closed with prayer each day 
of the session, the clergymen of the Episcopal Church officiating as well 
as those of the Presbj'teriau, Dutch Eefornied, and other denominations.' 
The first act was to decide upon rules of procedure ; then arose the ques- 
tion of the emission of paper currency, which it was argued would create 
a common interest among the associated Colonies in the property of the 
circulating medium, and a common responsibility for its final redemption ; 
and the report forwarded to the Continental Congress contained the main 
features of the plan finally adopted by the nation. Other subjects 
crowded rapidly upon notice. There were threatened trouljles with the 
Indians, and it was understood that Colonel Guy John.son was acting in 
accordance with orders from England, and actually engaged in the work 

1 On May 26, Rev. Dr. Auchnmty of Trinity officiated ; May 27, Rev. Dr. Rodgers of the 
Brick Churcli ; Jlay 30, Rev. Mr. Gano of the Baptist Church ; May 31, Rev. Charles In- 
glis, Assistant Rector of Trinity ; June 1, Rev. Dr. Laidlie of the Middle Dutch Church ; 
June 2, Rev. Dr. John Mason of the Cedar Street (Scotch Presbyterian) Church ; June 6, Rev. 
Dr. John Heniy Livingston of the North Dutch Church ; and so on, alternating as conven- 
ience dictated through the entire summer of 1775. 


of tryiug to influence the Six Nations to take up the hatchet against the 
"king's rebellious subjects in America." Affairs at Ticonderoga de- 
manded attention, but as no troops had yet been raised in New York, 
Connecticut was requested to send forces to hold the post, and responded 
promptly. The Continental Congress was inclined to abandon the conquest, 
being yet so unprepared for war, and rejected a proposition from Ethan 
Allen and Benedict Arnold to invade Canada. But New York was alive 
to the importance of holding the fortress, and took the matter in charge. 
Such means of defense as time and circumstances would allow were 
devised ; a bounty of five pounds was offered for every hundred pounds 
of powder manufactured in the colony, and twenty pounds for every 
hundred muskets, over and above the regular market price. Eesolutions 
were passed for fortifying the Highlands and the positions about Kings- 
bridge ; new regulations for the militia were instituted, and General 
Wooster, who was in command of the Connecticut forces at Greenwich, 
was requested to take up his quarters at Harlem, as a security against a 
possible invasion. This he did, remaining there several weeks. Philip 
Schuyler and Eichard Montgomery were unanimously nominated, the first 
as a Major-General and the second as a Brigadier in the army of the con- 
tinent, and shortly confirmed by the Continental Congress. At the same 
time every attempt upon the part of the impatient to provoke hostilities 
was sternly discountenanced. 

On the morning of May 25, the great British generals, Howe, Clinton, and 
Burgoyne, reached Boston with reinforcements, and were obliged 

May 25. '^ ■' ' » 

to land upon a narrow peninsula with no available outlet save by 
the sea. The nearer and more imminent the danger, the more the New 
England heroes displayed their courage ; they strij^ped every island be- 
tween Chelsea and Point Alderton of sheep, cows, and horses, and burned 
the lighthouse at the entrance to Boston Harbor. They were confident 
that if gunpowder could be obtained they could effectually drive the 
British from any foothold on their coasts. 

An order came for the few British troops in the barracks at Chamber 
Street in New York to join the army in Boston. They accordingly marched 

towards the point of embarkation on the morning of the 6th of 

June 6. T » , • 

June. A whisper ran through the city that the committee had not 
given them permission to take their arms witli them. Marinus WiUett 
accidentally came in front of the party on the corner of Beaver Street in 
Broad, and without any preconcerted plan caught the horse of the fore- 
most cart of arms by the bridle, which brought the whole procession to 
a standstill ; while he was having sharp words with the commander a 
crowd collected. Gouverneur Morris reached the scene and declared -with 


warmth that the troops should Ije allowed to depart unmolested ; liut 
John Morin Scott came upon a run, exclaiming, " You are ri^ht, Willett, 
the committee have not given them permission to cany off any spare 
arms." The front cart was immediately turned and the cartman directed 
to drive up Beaver Street, all the other carts being compelled to follow. 
They were conducted amid the deafening cheers of the people to Broad- 
way, corner of John Street, and their contents deposited in the yard of 
Abraham Van Dyck, a prominent Whig ; these were afterwards distrib- 
uted among the troops raised in New York.^ 

June was a memorable month for America. While Congress at Phila- 
delphia was groping irresolutely in the dark, the very air was exhilarant 
with aggressive progress all the way from the hills of New Hampshire to 
the remote forest wilds of Kentucky ; far beyond the Alleghanies a few 
men had organized them.selves into a convention on the 25th of May, and 
founded that commonwealth. Virginia had been peopled by the average 
cavaliers of the day, under the direction of higher grades of intellect, and 
now a large array of men of education, property, and condition were 
revolving the new notions and ideas which were to make us a free and 
independent people. Maryland, from the beginning, rose upon the shoul- 
ders of persons of high birth moved to their destination by the best 
thought at home, but taking in the vagaries of a larger freedom under a 
new sky. The county of Mechlenbm-g, North Carolina, had already been 
the scene of political meetings which were in tune with the urgency 
of the times ; the inhabitants were chiefly Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, 
of the race who early emigrated from Scotland to the North of Ireland.^ 
The little town of Charlotte was the centre of the culture of the western 
and most populous portion of North Carolina, and the Royal governor 

' Li-eiiienant-Govcrnor Coldeu to Earl of Dartmouth, June 7, 1775 : Cohlen Mss. Colonel 
Marinus WUlett's Narrative, New York in the Ecvolution, 53 - 65. Colonel Willett was born 
in Jamaica, L. I., July .31, 1740. He had been an officer under General Ahercrombie, in 
Colonel De Lancey's regiment, in 1758 ; and accompanied Bradstreet in his exjiedition against 
Fort Frontenac. He was one of the earliest Sons of Liberty in New York ; afterwards 
joined the army, and subsequently became a brigadier-general. He was mayor of the city of 
New York in 1807. He died on the '22d of August, 1830, aged 90. 

* The Scotch-Irish brought to this country the creed and the courage of the Covenanters, 
as well as their thrift, integrity, and morality ; with ideas eminently republican, they exerted 
no little influence in molding the American mind. Some settled in New England and New 
York, but the greater ]>nrtion passeil into the upper regions of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and 
the CarolLnas. From this stock have sprung some of the most prominent families in the 
South and West. Of eminent men might be mentioned five of the signers of the Declaration of 
Independence, Read, Thornton, .Smith, Taylor, and Rutledge ; also General George Clinton, 
General Richard Montgomery, and I^ord .Stirling ; three Presidents of the Union, Jackson, 
Polk, and Buchanan ; and John Caldwell, John C. Calhoun, Horace Greeley, General 
McClellan, Charles Johnson McCurdy, and many other well-known public characters. 


was dazed when he read the resohitions of those whom he had hitherto- 
supposed he might command in an emergency; he said, "They most 
traitorously declare the entire dissolution of the laws and Constitution, 
and set up a system of rule and regulation subversive of his Majesty's 
government." The settlement of the Colonies had been but the removal 
.of ripening European minds in European bodies to another country. As. 
good came here as were left behind, and the heads of these Colonies had 
ever since been in intercourse with the best talent and wisdom of Europe. 
East-sailing packets brought to our shores Parliamentary discussions, which 
were scattered broadcast by the press, and repeated from mouth to mouth. 
The lofty sentiment which was taking shape was constantly fed and fos- 
tered by words of sympathy and encouragement from the home continent. 
It was a period of greater significance than mere development; it was 
that of interpretation. Nowhere was the conduct of Gage more severely 
criticised than in England. Lord Effingham retired from military service- 
as soon as he learned his regiment was destined for America. Many other 
gallant officers did likewise. The king's own brother, the amiable Duke 
of Gloucester, through genuine admiration for the men of Lexington and 
Concord, expressed himself so forcibly in his descriptions of the uprising 
of New England, at a banquet of Louis XVI. given in his honor while in 
France, that he won a champion for American Independence in the youth- 
ful Lafayette, who was present. 

All eyes were turned expectantly upon the movements at Boston. 
On the 12th, General Gage established martial law in Massachu- 
' setts, and sent vessels to Sandy Hook to turn the transports to 
Boston, which Avere bound to New York with four regiments of soldiers. 
About the same time Thomas Wickham, the member of the New York 
CongTCSS from Easthampton, and one of the trustees in charge of Gar- 
diner's Island for the children of the late David Gardiner (the 6th 
Lord) reported that the British had taken off aU the stock from this 
defenseless point, and desired to know whether pay should be taken for 
the same.i 

1 Journal of the ProvincUd Congress : Xcw Vork historical Society. The manor of Gardi- 
ner's Island was the first English settlement within the present limits of the State of New 
York ; its founder. Lion Gardiner, having purchased it of Wyandanch, the great sachem of 
Long Island in 1639, and taken up his residence there during the same year. He was an 
educated Englishman, whose family has been traced to the Gardiner who was connected by 
marriage with the Ancient Barony of Fitz Walter ; and from an engineer in the English army 
had been made "Master of Works of Fortifications" in the camp of Frederick Henry, 
Prince of Orange. He came to America in the employ of a company of English noblemen, to- 
build a city at the mouth of the Connecticut River (a project afterw.irds abandoned), and 
commanded the Saybrook Fort through the jierils of the great Pequot AVar with signal ability. 
He also built the first fort in Boston. He married Maiy Willemsen, a Holland lady. His. 


The Continental Congress having at last created a continental army,, 
elected Washington its commander-in-chief. On the following 

'^ . ° June 15. 

day he accepted the position, refusing all compensation beyond 
his expenses ; and with the full knowledge that he was appointed by 
the feeblest of all possible governments, prepared for hi.s departure for 
the seat of war. Four major-generals and eight brigadiers where like- 
wise appointed. At the same moment events were transpiring in Boston 
which were to electrify all Christendom. Spies, swimming under the 
very bows of the British war-vessels imseen, communicated to the army of 
besiegers that the enemy were about to extend their lines over Charlestown. 
The question was quickly debated of fortifying the Heights of Charles- 
town (Bunker Hill). But if such step were taken the post must be held 
against a constant cannonade, and probably a direct assault, and where 
was the powder to be obtained ? General Ward knew that he was hardly 
commander-in-chief, althougli in chief connnand, for in reality there was 
no New England army ; Massachusetts had an army. New Hampshire had 
an army, Connecticut had an army, and Ehode Island had an army, but 
there was no association formed and no common authority. They had 
met under one common impulse and purpose, that was all. The moment,, 
however, was a critical one, and demanded decisive action. Joseph War- 
ren, President of the Massachusetts Congress, and chairman of the Com- 
mittee of Safety, was in favor of taking the risks for the possible issue. 
The vote accorded with his judgment, and Ward executed the instructions 
of his superiors. The next day (the 16th) William Prescott was chosen 
to lead a detachment to intrench Bunker Hill, and a thousand men were 
placed under his command. It was one of the most daring enterprises of 

eldest son, David, was the first white child born in Connecticut. His daughter, Elizabeth, 
was the first child of English parentage bom in New York. 

The manor was in a highly prosperous condition at the time of the death of David, the 
6th Lord, in the autumn of 1774 ; and as his two children, Jolin Lyon and David, were 
quite young, the estate was in charge of three trustees. Colonel Abraham Gardiner, of East- 
hampton, Thomas Wickham, and David Mulford whose wife was Colonel Gardiner's daugh- 
ter. It was one of the most exposed portions of the Prorince ; as was also the thriving 
territory of Easthampton, of which the inhabitants had been among the earliest to come for- 
ward in a body and sign an association "never to become slaves." They petitioned for troo])S 
to be added to the number they were raising among themselves to enable them to withliold 
support from the enemy, who, it was predicted, would swoop down upon them for provisions ; 
and, after some deliberation, General Wooster was sent from Harlem with a detachment for 
the protection of this eastern region. But before operations were perfected, — on August 8, 
— a fleet of thirteen sail anchored in Gardiner's Bay, and not being able to eflfect the purchase 
of stock and other supplies from Colonel Gardiner, plundered the island of nearly twelve hun- 
dred sheep, upwards of si.tty head of cattle, and hogs, fowls, cheese, and hay, to the value of 
some four thousand dollars. Henceforward Gardiner's Island was a foraging field for tlie 


modern warfare. The work must be doue iu the night, and in such near 
proximity to the enemy that ordinary conversation might be heard. The 
men with their wagons and tools were in readiness as the shades of even- 
ing settled upon Cambridge. They were drawn up in front of the par- 
sonage, General Ward's headqiiarters, not knowing whither they were 
bound, and prayer was offered by the Reverend President of Harvard 
College, Dr. Langdon. Prescott, with two sergeants carrying dark lanterns 
open in the rear, gave the order of march at nine o'clock, himself leading 
the way. With hushed voices and silent tread they passed the narrow 
isthmus. Then they halted, and Prescott conferred with Colonel Richard 
Gridley, a competent engineer, and other officers, in relation to the exact 
spot smtable for their earthworks. The order designated " Bunker Hill," 
the highest of the two eminences which constituted what was then 
known as Charlestown Heights. But with scanty military appliances it 
was quite apparent that both hills could not be fortified in one night, 
and that the lower, or " Breed's Hill" (as it was afterwards called), was a 
superior position. Bunker Hill would have been altogether untenable 
except in connection with Breed's Hill. The British would certainly 
have occupied the latter summit if the Americans had not, and thus 
have become masters of the situation. 

The Boston bells announced the midnight hour before the sod was 
broken, and the remnant of a waning moon disappeared. The stars 
shone with mocking brilliancy. Morning was just beyond the horizon, 
approaching swiftly. How precious each second of time ! Every man 
was conscious of the risks, and every muscle was strained to the utmost 
in the rapid work of raising the protecting shield of loose earth. A guard 
was stationed at the water's edge to note any movement of the British. 
Five or more armed vessels were moored so close that it seemed almost 
impossible but that the sentries, if awake, would hear something of the 
operations. Twice Prescott ran down to the shore to satisfy himself that 
they had discovered nothing, and was reassured by the drowsy cry from 
the decks, " All is well." During the night General Putnam appeared for 
a few moments among the Connecticut men on the Hill, but his hands 
were full elsewhere. Officers sprang from point to point, putting their 
own shoulders to the wheel, and men worked as men can only work in 
tlie ijresence of a fearful necessity. Thus minutes yielded the fruits of 
•ordinary hours. 

The sun rose upon a scene which foretold serious events. A redoubt 
had sprung into existence while Boston was sleeping, the earthwork (if 
which was already between six and seven feet high. Cannon from the 
vessels greeted it with a hot fire without any seeming effect. The British 


generals repaired to Copp's Hill, twelve Imndred yards from it, to study 
its strength and character. Hurrying its completion, Prescott's one tliou- 
sand looked like a hive of bees. Untiring, with perspiration streaming 
from every pore, without food or water,i the intense heat of the coming 
day bearing down upon them with fatal force, they labored with an intre- 
pidity which delayed the measures of the enemy through sheer amazement. 
Prescott was full of bounding energy, and his words fell like fire-balls of 
inspiration about him. He was in his fiftieth year, tall, of fine, command- 
ing presence, witli frank, open, handsome face, blue eyes and brown hair; 
he was bald on the top of his head, and later in life wore a wig. He was 
in a simple and appropriate military costume, — wearing a three-cornered 
hat, a blue coat with a single row of Ijuttous, lapped and faced, and a 
•well-proven sword.'' Expecting warm service, he had with him a linen 
coat or banyan which he wore in the engagement. As he mounted the 
works with his hat in his hand, and walked leisurely backwards and 
forwards giving directions, his magnificent figure attracted the attention 
of Gage on Copp's Hill, who asked of Counselor WQlard, at his side, " Who 
is that officer commanding ? " 

WLllard, recognizing his own brother-in-law, named Colonel Prescott. 

" Will he fight ? " asked Gage. 

" Yes, indeed, depend upon it, to the last drop of blood in hmi ; though 
I cannot answer for his men." 

But Prescott could answer for his men, as the sequel proved. 

The story of this battle has been told again and again. Who does not 
know with what admirable coolness and self-possession, such as would 
have done credit to the greatest hero of antiquity. Colonel Prescott de- 
liberately gave orders and compelled their obedience. He despatched 
repeated messengers for reinforcements and provisions, but none came. 
Without sleep, without breakfast, without dinner, without even a cup of 
cold water, he and his men prepared for a desperate encounter with a 
vastly superior force. General Ward, at Cambridge, apprehending that the 
main attack of the British would be at headquarters, dared not impair his 
strength by sending more men to Bunker Hill. Even when he was told 
by Brooks — afterwards governor of Massachusetts, one of Prescott's mes- 
sengers, who, ilenied a horse because the roads were raked by the cannon 
of the gunboats, had made the long detour to headquarters on foot — that 

' Two barrels of water were knocked in pieces by a shot from one of the vessels. Jacob 
Kash, the grandfather of the author, witnessed the scene, to whom he often described it while 
the latter was a child. 

^ This account differs somewhat from the notions obtained from the ideal pictures, where 
Prescott is represented in the working garb of a farmer, wearing a slouched hat and carrying 
a musket ; but the above description is well authenticated. 


the British were landing at Charlestown, he refused to change his plan. 
He simply ordered the New Hampsliire regiments of Stark and Eeed, 
then at Medford, to march to Prescott's support. Some two hundred 
yards in the rear of the redoubt, a low stone- wall crowned by a rail-fence 
extended towards the Mystic. A few apple-trees were upon either side 
of it. The meadow, just mown the day before, was rich with half-cured 
hay in piles. Prescott sent the brave Knowlton with a detachment of 
Connecticut troops to improvise a fortification by throwing up another 
rail-fence along the route of this, filling the few feet of space between 
the two with the fresh-mown hay. The work was done, and proved of 
great service. But it was only about seven hundred feet long, and there 
was an opening of nearly the same length between it and the redoubt 
which there was no time to secure, and no means of defending save be- 
hind a few scattered trees. 

Thousands of persons from hiU-top, steeple, and roof, almost disbelieving 
their own eyes, regarded every movement with intensest anxiety. Ere 
the clock struck nine the bustle in Boston indicated that the British would 
presently attempt to dislodge the bold patriots. But they moved with 
moderation ; they took refreshments by the way ; they halted on the 
grass and sent back for reinforcements ; and finally, about half past two 
o'clock in the afternoon, marched up the hill in their glittering uniforms. 

Prescott was undismayed by the thinned ranks of his fighting corps, 
some of those detailed expressly for the night work having departed. 
Warren arrived just before the action, saying he came as a volunteer, and 
asked for a place where the onset would be most furious. It was absolutely 
necessary, with the small amount of powder in hand, that every charge 
should take effect, hence the men were ordered to withhold their fire until 
they could see the whites of the assaulters' eyes. Prescott vowed instant 
death to any one who disobeyed him in tliis respect, and when the word 
was given and the deadly flashes burst forth, the enemy fell like the tall 
grass before the practiced sweep of the mower. General Pigott, who com- 
manded the British left wing, was obliged to give the order for retreat. 
General Howe, meanwhile, with the British right wing, made for the rail- 
fence where Putnam had posted the artillery, and threatened to cut down 
any of his men who risked the waste of a musket discharge without 
orders. The word was given when the enemy were within eight rods, 
and a lane was mown through the advancing column. The assailants 
retreated in confusion. Our troops and our cause suffered from want of 
discipline and imperfect preparation ; and an almost insuperable barrier to 
the bringing on of reinforcements was the plowing of the neck of land by 
the incessant volleys from the ships, which kept a cloud of dust darkening 


the air. At this crisis fresh troops came over from Boston, and the enemy 
rallied for a second attack. Again were the British fairly and completely 
driven from the hill. It was during this assaidt that Charlestown was 
set on fire by order of Howe, and its church and over two hundred dwell- 
ings were falling in one great blaze. The few remaining rounds of powder 
were distributed by Prescott himself to the less than two hundred nieu 
left in the redoubt, and there were not fifty bayonets in his party. The 
British made the third desperate assault, and hand to hand and face to 
face were exchanged the last savage hostilities of that day. It was only 
when the redoubt was crowded by the enemy and its defenders in a dense 
promiscuous throng, and fresh assailants were on every side pouring into it, 
that Prescott conducted an orderly but still resisting retreat. The chival- 
rous Warren was among the last to leave the redoubt, and fell a few rods 
from it. Putnam, with Knowlton and Stark, made a vigorous stand at the 
rail-fence, which was of the utmost service to the retreating party, but 
were also compelled to retire. The enemy were in no condition to pursue, 
and remained apparently content with the little patch of ground which 
had cost them so many lives. They had brought their last forces into 
the field ; more than a third of those engaged lay dead or bleeding, and 
the survivors were e.Khausted by the courage of their adversaries. AH 
that night and the next day boats, drays; and stretchers were conveying 
the wounded and dying to Boston. Seventy commissioned officers were 
wounded and thirteen slain. Even the battle of Quebec, which won half 
a continent, did not cost the lives of as many officers. Gage estimated 
his loss at one thousand fifty-four. Of the Americans, one hundred and 
forty- five were killed. This battle put an end to all offensive operations 
on the part of Gage. 

The news reached Philadelphia on the 22d, and the ne.xt day Washing- 
ton, accompanied by two of the newly appointed major-generals, 
Lee and Schuyler, and a volunteer corps of light horse, started 
for the seat of war. As the brilliant cavalcade clattered through the 
country, it was the delight and wonder of every town and village. The 
New York Congress were in a dilennna when a message came that 
Washington would arrive in the city on the 25th, and another to 

° ■' Jane 25. 

say that Governor Tryon, just from Europe, was on a vessel m 
the harbor, and would probably land about the same time. Tryon was 
still held to be the legal governor by order of the Continental Congress, 
although the only allegiance shown him by the New York Congress was 
outward respect, and a vigilant caution that his person should not be 
niole.sted. It was not desirable that the two distinguished ofticials 
should meet, and it was incumbent on the self-constituted authorities to 


pay military honors to both. In the embarrassment of the moment they 
ordered one company of militia to meet Washington, and another to be 
ready at the ferry to welcome whichever dignitary should first arrive " as 
well as circumstances would allow." A committee consisting of John Sloss 
Hobart, Melancton Smith, Eichard Montgomery, and Gouverneur Morris 
met Washington in Newark, and attended him to New York. It was a 
lovely afternoon, bells were rung joyfully, militia paraded in their gayest 
trim, and the handsome, courtly commander-in-chief, in a uniform of blue, 
with purple sash, and long plume of feathers in his hat, was drawn in an 
open phaeton by a pair of white horses, up Broadway, which was lined by 
multitudes to the very house-tops. A letter from Gilbert Livingston to 
Dr. Peter Tappau gives an account of the afl'air in aU its freshness. 

New York, June 29, 1775. 
" Dear Brother, — You wiU see by the warrants who are nominated officers 
for yom: County, it is very hkely we shall raise au additional number of troops 
besides the 3,000 now Eaised. We expect all dilligence will be used in 
Eecruiting, that the Eegiments may be formed immediately. Last Saturday 
about two o'clock the Generals Washington Lee and Schuyler arrived here, 
they crossed the North Eiver at Hoback ' and landed at Coll Lispenards.* 
There were 8 or 10 Companies under Arms all in Uniforms who marched 
out to Lispenards, the procession began from there thus, the Companies first, 
Congress next, two of Continental Congress next, General Officers next, & a 
Company of horse from Philadelphia who came with the General brought up 
the rear, there were an innumerable Company of people Men Women and Chil- 
dren present. In the evening Governor Tryon landed as in the newspapers. I 
walked with my friend George Clinton, all the way to Lispenards — who is now 
gone home.' I am very well hope all Friends so, the Torys Catey * writes 
are as violent as ever ! poor insignificant souls, Who think themselves of great 
importance. The Times will soon show. I fancy that they must quit their 
Wicked Tenets at least in pretense and show fair, Let their Hearts be Black 
as HeU. Go on be spirited & I doubt not success wiU Crown our Honest 
endeavours for the Support of our Just Eights and Privaledges." 

Governor Tryon landed about eight o'clock the same evening, and was 
met and escorted by a delegation of magistrates, and the militia in full 
dress, to the residence of the Hon. Hugh Wallace. He wrote to Dart- 
mouth shortly after, that he was only in the exercise of such feeble ex- 
ecutive powers as suited the convenience or caprice of the country, and 
he felt most keenly his ignoble situation. He said every traveler on the 

' Hoboken. 

* In the vicinity of Laight Street, near Greenwich. 

' The wife of George C'linton was Cornelia, sister of Dr. Tappan. 

' "Catey " was the wife of Gilbert Livingston and sister of Dr. Tappan. 

THE A.SIA. 47 

continent must have a pass from some committee or some congress, in 
order to proceed from one point to another. 

Wasliington met the New York Congress on the day following his re- 
ception, exchanged addresses and civilities, and discussed military 
questions of moment, chiefly concerning the formidable power 
which threatened from the interior of this province ; then hastened towards 
Cambridge, where he was much needed. Schuyler was left in command 
of the militia of New York. The Continental Congress had already 
ordered New York to contribute three thousand men as her quota to the 
army of the country. Four regiments were soon raised and placed under 
Colonels McDougal, Van Schaick, James Clinton, and Holmes. John 
Lamb was appointed captain of a company of artillery. He was shortly 
instructed by the New York Congress to remove the guns on the 
battery to the fortifications in the Highlands. While accomplish- 
ing this feat, on the night of August 23, he was fii-ed upon by a party 
from the Asia, who were in a barge close under the fort, evidently to watch 
proceedings, and retiu-ned a volley which sent the hostile craft swiftly to 
the shelter of the ship, with one man killed and several wounded. A 
broadside was at once opened upon the city by the Asia, wounding three of 
Lamb's men and injuring some of the houses in the vicinity of AVhitehall. 
In the mean time the cannon, in all twenty-one pieces, were taken hence 
with great deliberation. The panic was such that many families hurriedly 
removed from the city the next day. The captain of the Asia wrote to 
the Mayor, WTiitehead Hicks, in the early morning, demanding 

. . Aug. 24 

satisfaction for the murder of one of his men in the skirmish. The 
public functionaries were summoned to the council-room of the City Hall, 
including the Mayor and Common Council, Governor Tryon, and of his 
couuseloi-s Daniel Horsemanden, Oliver De Lancey, Charles Ward Ap- 
thorpe, Henry White, and Hugh Wallace, together with the members of 
the New York Congress who were in town, to considt in regard ti) the 
alarming condition of affairs. It was agreed, after considerable discussion, 
that as the Asia had seen fit to cannonade the city, she must henceforward 
receive no more supplies from it directly, but fresh provisions might be 
delivered on Governor's Island for her benefit. Thus there woulil „ 

Aug 29. 

be no communication between the vessel and the town. Orders 

to this effect were issued on the 29th. A week later Tryon wrote to 

Dartmouth : — 

" The city lias remained quiet since, but a boat which carried only some milk 
to the ship was burnt on her return to shore, as was last Sunday a country sloop 
for having put some provisions on board the man-of-war. Sucli is the ra>;e of 
the present animosity. At least one third of the citizens liave moved witli their 


effects out of town, and many of tlie inhabitants will shortly experience the dis- 
tresses of necessity and want." 

It may be observed that the ablest and best-informed of those who 
have censured the New York Congress for permitting any supplies what- 
ever to reach the Asia are scarcely consistent with themselves. On what 
principle of generalship could an engagement have been provoked with 
an adversary of such strength without as yet the slightest means of de- 
fense ? It is hardly conceivable that men of genius and judgment, as the 
majority of this Congi'ess unquestionably were, should commit so great a 
blunder as to throw the firebrands which would have certainly laid the 
city in ashes, to the great risk of life and destruction of property. There 
were other and broader objects and aims than the punishment of one war 
vessel which manifestly had the advantage at the present moment. De- 
spite the clamor of the short-sighted and impatient, less diplomacy and 
discretion at this crisis would have done irreparable injury to the American 
cause. " We had better be dubbed cowards and tories than to beat our 
heads against a wall," said Gouverneur Morris. 

Tryon wrote to Dartmouth in an hour of deep dejection : — 

" Every day produces fresh proof of a determined spirit of resistance in the 
Confederate Colonies. The Americans from politicians are becoming soldiers, and 
however problematical it once was, there can be no doubt now of their intention 
to persevere to great extremity, unless they are called back by some liberal and 
conciliatory assurances." ' 

Tryon was privately informed by General Montgomery that measures 

were being matured by Congress for his arrest and imprisonment, 

and after suflering much uneasiness and mortification, he retired, 

on the 30th of October, to the ship Duchess of Gordon, under protection of 

the guns of the Asia in the harlior. 

John Morin Scott wrote to Pa chard Varick on the 15th of November 
following : — 

" Every office shut up almost, but Sam Jones's wlio will work for 6/ a day 
it live accordingly — All Business stagnated, the City half deserted for fear of a 
Bombardment — a new Congress elected — Those for New York you wQl see by the 
papers are changed for the better — All staunch Whigs now. How it is with the 
Convention I know not. We have [not rec'*] Beturns. Yesterday the new 
Congress was to meet but I believe they did not make a house. My Doctors 
say I must not attend it nor any other Business in some Weeks ; but I hope they 
will be mistaken. Nothing from t'other side of the Water but a fearful looking 
for of wrath. Our continental petition most probably condemned the Bulk of 

1 Tryon to Dartmouth, September 5, 1775. N. Y. Coll. Ms. VIII. 633. 


the Nation (it is said ag' US) and a bloody campaign next summfv. 15ut 
let us be prepared for the worst. Who can prize life without Liberty ! It is a 
Bauble only fit to be thrown away." ^ 

The limit of the first New York Congress having expired, an election 
took place at the usual time in the autumn ; the secoud Congress, chosen 
for six months, was to have met November 14, laut a quorum was not 
present until December 6.^ There has ever been in the public mind a 
very natural confusion concerning the committees and congresses of New 
York in this exciting period. But the careful reader of preceding pages 
will note the sequence unbroken from the birth of the famous Fifty- 
One in the spring of 1774 ; and the gradual unfolding of the subtle forces 
inherent in the community which were soon to assume majestic place and 
meaning. Whenever the Provincial Congress adjourned, ibr however 
short a time, a Committee of Safety was delegated from their own 
numbers to manage afiairs in the interim ; therefore a responsible Ijody 
representing the people was at all times in session. No colony had ac- 
quired more dexterity in the performance of puldic business than New 
Y'ork ; and one of the strongly marked features in the complicated ma- 
chinery of the new government, which was already beginning its move- 
ments, was the special care taken by all men in office not to wield more 
power than had been distinctly delegated to them l>y the united voice of 
their constituents. 

Isaac Sears, so conspicuous for his zeal in the earlier New York com- 
mittees, without any particular fitness for leadership in any direc- 
tion, and wholly deficient in judgment, had removed to New 
Haven, where he raised a company of cavalry. Becoming incensed witli 
James Eivington,^ the editor of the Nai: York Gazetteer (published since 

' Ne^c York in the Revolution, 84, 85. John Morin Scott was born in New Yovk in 1730, 
and graduated at Yale College in 1746 ; he afterwards studied law and became one of the 
leading members of the New York bar, where many of the ablest minds of America were then 
practicing. He was appointed a Brigadier-General in June, 1776, and was engaged in the 
battle of Long Island. In March, 1777, he left the military service to become Secretary of 
the State of New York. In 1782 and 1783 he served in the Continental Congi-ess. He ilied 
in 1784 in New York. 

'^ Journal of the Prorinnial Congress of New York, 197. 

' James Rivington, printer and bookseller in New York during the Revohition. was a man 
of fifty (born in London, 1724), possessing talent, fine manners, and much general information. 
In May, 1775, he was placed in confinement by order of Congress for his attacks upon the 
patriots, to which body he applied for release, declaring "that, however wrong and mistaken 
he may have been in his opinions, he always meant ojienly and honestly to do his duty 
as a servant of the public." In 1777 he resumed the publication of his pa|icr : but in 1781, 
when British success looked doubtful, he turned spy, and furnished Washington important 
information ; thus, when New York was evacuated he remained in the city, where he died 

in 1S02. 

vol,. 11. 4 


1773), for his severe strictures upon the conduct of the Americans, he, 
unannounced, swooped down upon New York City with seventy-five 
mounted men armed to the teeth, and destroyed Eiviugton's printing- 
press and other apparatus, carrying off the types, which were converted 
into bullets. It was a riotous proceeding, universally condemned by the 
citizens of the city, and met the rank disapproval of the Committee of 
Safety, who declared it unworthy of an enlightened people to attempt " to 
restrain the freedom of the Press." 

With the approach of winter. New York grew more and more cheerless. 
Scarcely a third of its residents had returned to their homes. An omi- 
nous apprehension of calamity hung over the city. Governor Tryon was 
visited by his counselors from time to time on the Duchess of Gm-don, 
but they were impotent to exercise the powers conferred upon them by 
the king of England even in the smallest particulars. Help was daily 
expected, and they smiled among themselves as they contemplated the 
easy conquest of the metropolis with the arrival of Britain's army. Why 
it should be so long in coming was a problem. 

One glance across the water, and we shall see that Barrington's 
estimate of England's military strength was correct. When the tidings 
of the battle of Bunker HiU were discussed at Whitehall the lords were 
startled by the loss of so many officers ; the king remarked, with arrogant 
composure, that he would have twenty thousand soldiers in America before 
spring. Barrington suggested to the Secretary of State that no such 
number could be raised. George III. at once made eftbrts to secure 
troops from the continent of Europe, sending agents to Hanover, Holland, 
Germany, and Eussia. The astute Vergennes could hardly convince 
himself that England's statesman would miss the means, so apparent 
to him, of pacifying America, although he unhesitatingly pronounced 
George III. the most obstinate king alive, and as weak as Charles I. 
But he was forced to give up his doubts when he read the king's proc- 
lamation against the Colonies, which reached America in November. 
The Empress of Eussia returned a sarcastic negative answer when invited 
to ship twenty thousand men across the Atlantic to serve under British 
command ; and the king was obliged to turn for aid to the smaller princes 
of Germany. 

While England was quivering from center to circumference with the 
heat of the discussions over the injudicious and apparently impractica- 
ble schemes of her monarch, which half the kingdom believed fraught 
with disgrace, Washington, acting under a promiscuous executive, was 
making a herculean endeavor to organize a regular army and a military 
system from the disconnected material around Boston. Erelong it was 


discovered that Carletou, the British governor of Canada, was enlisting 
the French peasantry in an expeilitiou to recover Ticonderoga, and also 
instigating the northern savages to take up the hatchet against New York 
and New England. These movements decided the Continental Congress 
to occupy that Province as an act of self-defense. The command of the 
perilous enterprise was assigned to the two New York generals, Schuyler 
and Montgomery. 

Philip Scliuyler was forty-two years of age when he thus appeared 
conspicuously before the world. He was born to opulence, inherited the 
masterly traits of an ancestry which for three generations had been 
foremost in promoting the welfare and development of New York, was 
a natural as well as a trained mathematician, was familiar with mili- 
taiy engineering, having served in an important department of the 
army during the French War, was well versed in finance and political 
economy, and was a thorough scholar in the French language ; he was 
personally proud, self-poised, high-spirited, impatient of undeserved criti- 
cism, but superior to envy of any description, and one of the most un- 
pretentious and generous of men. His mother was the beautiful Cor- 
nelia Van Cortlandt, a lady of great force of character, the youngest 
daughter of Hon. Stephanus Van Cortlandt and Gertrude Schuyler, so 
interesting from their political consequence and social consideration in 
an earlier decade of our history. He had been one of the most earnest 
advocates of liberty in the New York Assembly ; his well-balanced mind 
had acted a faithful part in the Continental Congress, and in the later 
councils of the Province ; and from the first he liberally pledged his own 
personal credit for the public wants. He repaired at once to his charm- 
ing home on the banks of the Upper Hudson,^ a great, elegant, old-fash- 
ioned family mansion, half hidden among ancestral trees, and surrounded 
by gardens, fruit-orchards, and broad, highly cultivated acres, and after a 
brief visit turned his face warward. At Ticonderoga his dutj' was the 
same as that of Washington at Cambridge, — the raising, organizing, equip- 
ping, in'ovisioning, and paying of men from an uncertain and scarcely 
founded treasury ; and the obstacles and the dangers were much greater, 
from his proximity to the hostile element hovering about Johnson Hall, 
and the totally unprotected condition of the region of the Hudson ; and 
the New England soldiers at the post, as well as those that came after- 
wards, were volunteers mostly fi-om the farms, undisciplined, and holding 
themselves on an equality with the subordinate officers, and quite as much 
inclined to dictate as to obey. 

Ptichard Montgomery, from the old Scotch-Irish nobility, born at Con- 

' A noble estate at Saratoga, iiilieriteJ from an uncle. 



way House, near Eaplioe, Ireland, was a laureled M'arrior, although but 
thirty-eight years of age. He entered the English army while quite young, 
and distinguished himself with Wolfe in the brilliant conquests of the 
French War. He was an intimate friend of Barre, and well kuown per- 
sonally to Edmund Burke, Fox, and other English statesmen, and he 

had stood shoulder 
to shoulder with the 
colonists in five im- 
portant military cam- 
paigns. He had re- 
tired from the service 
and some time since 
taken up his abode 
in New York, pur- 
chasing a large prop- 
erty on the Hudson. 
He married Janet 
Livingston, daughter 
of Judge Ilobert R 
Livingston — who was 
accustomed to saj' that 
li American liberty 
tailed to be maiu- 
t.iined, he would re- 
move with his family 
to Switzerland, as the 
only free country in 
the world — and sister of the future chancellor, then one of the important 
memljers of the Continental Congress. It was this lady's great-grandfather, 
Robert Livingston, who figured so prominently for half a century in the 
public affairs of New York, and her grandfather, Robert Livingston, who 
prophecied for years the coming conflict with England, and on his death- 
bed, in 1775, at the age of eighty-seven, watching with keen interest the re- 
sults of the battle of Bunker Hill, confidently predicted America's indepen- 
dence ; and in her veins also coursed the republican blood of the Schuylers 
and Beekmaus. From a domestic circle which had for its inheritance an 
infusion of lofty sentiment in harmony with the appeals for justice from 
a Parliamentary minority of the choicest and greatest of the realm of 
England, Montgomery had been summoned to represent Duchess County 
in the New York Congress. His great moral and intellectual qualities in- 
stantly found recognition. His sound judgment was valued as it deserved. 

Portrait of Richard Montgomery. 


and his promptness in action and decision nf character inspired heroic 

He was regarded with pride and affection as, bidding adieu to his lovely 
home and recently wedded joys, he turned his face toward the uninviting 
northern frontiers. His figure even now stands out through the mists of 
a century in living colors, — tall, of fine military presence, of graceful ad- 
dress, with a bright magnetic face, winning manners, and the bearing of 
a prince. His wife accompanied him to Saratoga, where they parted — • 

Events soon proved the wisdom of attempting the conquest of Canada 
as a safeguard against Indian hostilities, and preparations were pushed 
with vigor. Schuyler, who knew all the country and its inhabitants, civil- 
ized and savage, went to Albany to use his influence with some of the 
warriors of the Six Nations there assembled ; but a desjiatch from Wash- 
ington hurried him again to Ticonderoga. He found Montgomery, who 
had also caught the warning note from the commander-in-chief, already 
en route over Lake Champlain. Schuyler was stricken down with a 
bilious fever, M'hich did not, however, prevent his journeying three days 
in a covered batteau, overtaking Montgomery and party. But his illness 
became so serious that lie was compelled to relinquish the chief command 
to Montgomery and return to Ticonderoga. 

The details of this expedition are among the most remarkable and 
romantic of tlie Revolutionary contest. The way bristled with difficulties, 
roads and bridges were among the modern conveniences of the future, the 
munitions of war were insufficient, food was scarce and of the poorest 
quality, and the common troops were fidl of the inquisitiveness and self- 
direction of civil life. Montgomery was much better able to manage the 
New York than the New England soldiers, as his authority depended 
chiefly upon his personal influence and powers of persuasion ; of tlie lat- 
ter he said, " They are the worst stuff imaginable for fighting ; there is so 
much equality among them that the privates are all generals, but not 
soldiers." And yet with a force of one thousand men Montgomery caj)- 
tured the fort at Chamblc'e and the post of St. John's,^ proceeded to 
Montreal,^ and leaving General Wooster in command of that town, led his 
gallant little army to the very walls of Queliec. 

1 Colonel Marinus Willett of New York was left in command of the fort of St. John's. 

2 Montgomery WTote to his wife, November 24 : " The other day General Prescott was so 
obliging as to surrender himself and fourteen or fifteen land officers, with above one hundred 
men, besides sea officers and sailors, prisoners of war. I blush for His Maje.sty's troops ! 
Such an instance of base poltroonery I never met with ! Ami all because we had a half a 
dozen cannon on the bank of the river to annoy him in his retreat. The Governor [Carleton] 
escaped — more 's the pity ! Prescott, nevertheless, is a prize." 


During his triumphal progress Benedict Arnold, with rare boldness and 
persistence, conducted a detachment of Washington's army through a 
trackless wilderness of nearly three hundred miles, where for thirty-two 
days they saw no trace of the presence of human beings. Their provisions 
fell short towards the last, so that it is said some of the men ate their doss, 
cartouch-boxes, breeches, and shoes. They appeared, after losing about 
half their number, at Point Levi, opposite Quebec ; an apparition which 
so startled the Canadians that, had boats been obtainable, it is more than 
probable that Quebec would have capitulated at the first demand without a 
struggle. Aaron Burr, a mere stripling, was of this party, and was chosen 
by Arnold to communicate his presence to Montgomery, one hundred and 
twenty miles distant, in Montreal. In the garb of a priest, and mak- 
ing use of his Latin and French, Burr obtained a trusty guide and one of 
the rude wagons of the country, and from one religious family to another 
■was conveyed in safety to his destination. Montgomery was so charmed 
with his successful daring, that he at once made him his aide-de-camp, 
with the rank of captain. 

It was on the 3d of December that Montgomery made a junction with 
Arnold,^ and soon decided to carry Quebec by storm. His reasons 
were twofold : he was unprovided with the means for a siege, and 
the term of the enlistment of the greater portion of his troops would ex- 
pire with the year. Whatever was done must be concentrated within the 
month of December. 

It was on the 30th, while but a few more hours of the old year re- 
mained, that the order was given. The principal attacks were 
conducted by Montgomery and Arnold in person. Colonel James 
Livingston, a New-Yorker who had for some time lived in Canada, was 
at the head of a regiment of Canadian auxiliaries which he had himself 
raised, and was sent, with his command, to St. John's Gate to distract 
attention, while another party under Brown was to feign a movement 
on Cape Diamond. Arnold, leading twice as many men as Montgomery, 
reached the Palace Gate, where in the first fierce encounter he was dis- 
abled by a wound in the leg and carried from the field. Captain Lamb, 
with his New York artillery, fought in this division. Lamb himself being 

1 Montgoniery'.s last letter to his wife was written Decembers. He says: " I suppose 
long ere this we have furnished the folks of the United Colonies with subject-matter of con- 
versation. I should like to see the long faces of my Tory friends. I fancy that they look a 
little cast down, and that the AVhig ladies triumph most unmercifully. 

" The weather continues so gentle that we have been able, at this late season, to get down 
[the St. Lawrence] by w'ater with our artilleiy. They are a good deal alarmed in town 

[Quebec], and with some reason I wish it were well over with all my heart, and sigh 

for home like a New Englander. 


wounded and taken prisoner. Montgomery reserved for his own party 
New York men, and in the blackness of the night, and through a blind- 
ing storm of wind, snow, and hail, led them, Indian file, to Wolfe's Cove, 
from which they were seen in full march at early dawn. And ever by 
the side of the princely commander was the diminutive and boyish Aaron 
Burr. They passed the first barrier, and were about to storm the second, 
when within fifty yards of the cannon, IMontgomery exclaimed, " iMen of 
New York, you will not fear to follow where your general leads ; pusli on, 
brave boys, Quebec is ours ! " and almost instantly fell. And with his 
life the soul of the expedition departed. 

Foes and friends alike paid a tribute to his worth. Barre wept pro- 
fusely when he heard of his death. Burke proclaimed him a hero who in 
-one campaign had conquered two thirds of Canada. " Curse on his vir- 
tues," said North ; " they 've undoue his country ! " Governor Carleton, 
with all liis officers, civil and military, in Quebec, buried him with the 
honore of war.^ Congress passed resolutions of sorrow and grateful re- 
membrance ; and all America was in tears. 

Quebec, the strongest fortified city in America, with a garrison of twice 
■the number of the besiegers, was not conquered, but the heroic endeavor 
created an impression throughout the world that America was in earnest. 

' The remains of Montgomery were removed forty-three years afterward, in compliance with 
a special act of the Legislature, and placed beneath the portico in St. Paul's Chapel, New York 
City, where a monument had been erected to his memory by order of Congress. By request 
of Mrs. Montgomery, the Governor of the State of New York, DeWitt Clinton, commissioned 
Lewis Livingston, the son of Edward Livingston, to conduct the ceremonies of removal, 
which were on a most brilliant scale, such voluntary honors indeed as were never before paid 
to the memory of an individual by a republic. 

The only original portrait of Montgomery (of which the sketch is a copy) is at Montgomery 
Place on the Hudson. It was sent to Mrs. Montgomery by Lady Ranelagh, the sister of the 
General, shortly after his death, having been painted in Europe when the young hero was 
about twenty-five. He left no descendants. His wiU, made at Crown Point, August 30, 
1775, is still in existence, though the paper is yellow and worn with its hundred years, and 
it bears the well-known signature of Benedict Arnold. 




January - July. 


The New Year. — New York Active, but Cautious. — Governor Fiianklin of New 
Jersey in Custody. — Burning of Portland, Maine. — Burning of Norfolk, Vir- 
ginia. — Families divided and Friends at Enmity. — New York disarms the 
Tories on Long Island. — The Pamphlet "Common Sense." — Sir John Johnson 
.sukhenders to Schuyler. — Lee's Arrival in New York. — General Clinton's 
Arrival in New York. — The Panic. — Lord Stirling in Command of New York. 
— General Israel Putnam. — Escape of Hon. John Watts. — Fortifications. — 
The Bhitish Army driven from Boston. — Washington transfers the A.merican 
Army to New York. — Silas Deane sent to the French King for Help. — Cana- 

The Conspiracy. — Riots and Disturbances. — British Fleet off Sandy Hook. — 
Governor William Livingston. — Liberty Hall. — The Continental Congress. — 
Decl.^ration of American Independence. 

THE opening of the year 1776, one of the most romantic and remark- 
able years for its sequence of civil wonders in the history of the 
world, was depressing in the extreme. The social observances of New 
Year's day in New York City for the first time in a century and a half 
were omitted, save in a few isolated cases where the ladies of the house- 
hold welcomed family friends without ceremony. A storm of wind, sleet, 
and rain terminated towards evening in a light fall of snow. The streets 
were deserted, and the portentous clouds seemed to close about the very 
roofs and chimney.s. The mind of the people was strained and apprehen- 
sive, the more so because of the undefined nature of the new life upon 
which tliey were entering. There was nothing fictitious or deceptive 
in the freshly awakened impidses and activities, but the step from the 
past into the untried future was creative of the most extraordinary sensa- 

Clinton was confidently expected from Boston. The metropolis was 
barren of defenses. The Bay of New York was already controlled by the 
British men-of-war ; also the East Eiver, and the Hudson Piiver below 


the Highlands. And neither Long Island nor Stateu Island could pre- 
vent the landing of British troops upon their soil. The possession of 
Long Island was virtually the command of Manhattan Island. 

The proceedings of the Xew York Congress were with closed doors ; 
none but members, all of whom were pledged to secrecy, were permitted 
to take copies of the minutes. The intention was to publish at the close 
of each session such of the acts as were not voted by the counties to be 
of a secret or unimportant nature, but the journal was not printed until 
1842. In the gathering together of war materials this body was indus- 
trious from the first. They advised Washington from time to time of 
things taken from the king's stores, as, for instance : 

" In a private room in the lower barrack.s some twenty cart-loads of soldiers' 
sheet.-^, blankets, shirts, and a box of fine lint ; in John Gilbert's store ten 
hogsheads of empty cartridges, and some twenty-four-pounders ; in a private- 
room in upper barracks near Liberty-Pole about six cart-loads of different kinds 
of medicines ; and in Isaac Sears' old store one hundred and thirty boxes of 
tallow candles, and a lot of soldiers' sheets and blankets." ^ 

And they were frequently under orders from the Continental Congress 
to procure flour and other necessaries " in the most private manner possi- 
ble " for the various divisions of the army. 

In New Jersey a self-oi'ganized government acted, as in New York, 
side by side with that of the king during the greater part of 1775. Gov- 
ernor Franklin, who had for a dozen years lieen useful and honored as an 
executive,^ sympathized with the power which had given and could take 
away his means of living. In September he suspended Lord Stirling 
from his Council for having accepted a military appointment under the 
Continental Congress. He prorogued the Legislature which convened 
December G, until January .S, 1776, and it never reassembled ; thus ter- 
minated the Pro%incial Legislature of New Jersey. He wrote to Dart- 
mouth : — 

" My situation is indeed particular and not a little difficult, having no more 
than one among the princii)al officers of government to whom I can, even now,, 
speak confidently on public affairs." 

This communication was intercepted January 6, by Lord Stirling, which 
resulted in a guard being placed at the gate of his residence to prevent his 
escape from the province ; and his subsequent arrest and imprisonment.^ 

1 Washington's Correspmidencc in Congressional Library. AVasliington, D. C. 

2 See Vol. I. p. 705. 

3 Govprnor Fr.inkliii was confined in Connecticut in charge of Oovernor Trumbull. In 
November, 1778, he was e.xchanfjptl, and came to New York, where he resided four years, and 
founded and presided over a Refugee Club. He retired to England at the close of the war. 


Dr. Franklin felt most keenly the defection of his son. It was a strange 
■coincidence that William Temple Franklin,^ the only son of Governor 
Franklin, adhering to the cause of America, should also have been lost to 
his fiitlier. 

Family histories disclose many painful characteristics of the great strug- 
gle. Fathers and mothers were doomed to see their children at open 
variance. Wives beheld in agony their husbands armed with weapons 
that were to be used against their own blood. Friends, between whom 
no shadow of dissension had ever e.xisted, ranged themselves under differ- 
ent banners. New Jersey, with less of foreign commerce and inland 
traffic to employ her youth than many of the other Colonies, had courted 
government offices and the naval and military service of England. Ever 
since the time of the original Lords Proprietors, many of her sons liad 
been educated in Europe, involving associations which often resulted in 
marriages into foreign families ; while similar unions had occurred be- 
tween the officers of tlie royal regiments sent to America and the daugh- 
ters of New Jersey. Thus, independent of pecuniary considerations and 
conscientious adherence to the oaths of office and dependence, personal 
and domestic happiness were jeopardized on every hand. The wonder is, 
not that so many valuable men became distinguished as Tories, but that 
their number should have been so far exceeded by the resolute spirits 
pushed to the front by the concussion of ethereal forces. 

The impending invasion of New York City caused its inhabitants to 
seek asylums in the country in every direction, particularly in New Jer- 
sey, which aroused the New Jersey Congress into the jDassing of an ordi- 
nance to repress the intiux, " it being unknown upon what principles such 
removals were occasioned," — whether to escape ministerial oppression 
•or the resentment of an injured community, — and all persons coming 
from New York witli the design of residing in New Jersey were re- 
quired to produce a permit from the committee of their precinct ; in case 
of refusal, to be themselves returned immediately from whence they came. 
The whole power of the Province of New Jersey was exercised by this 
self-constituted body, which assumed control over its funds and directed 
its physical energies. 

The animosity which burst into a blaze between those for and against 
kingly rule was of the most serious character. Language was ransacked 
for forms of speech with which to express the abhorrence each felt for 
the other. The old saying became current, " though we are commanded 
to forgive our enemies, we are nowhere commanded to forgive our friends." 

' William Temple Franldin resided in Fiance, became the biographer of his grandfather, 
and died at Paris, May 25, 1823. 


FA-ery week brouglit news wliicli intensified the bitterness. The rumor 
tliat general orders had been issued by the British iliuistry to burn all 
the seajiort towns of Ajnerica (though without foundation) was believed 
by tliousands ; and, as if in confirmation of the startling story, Norfolk, 
the best town in Virginia, the oldest and most loyal colony of England, 
was burned and laid waste by Lord Dunmore, the Eoyal governor who had 
lieen driven from that province. This fallowing in the immediate wake 
of the wanton bombardment and burning of Portland, Maine, by a ISritish 
man-of-war, lashed the American heart into a fury of antipathy which it 
required two entire generations to eradicate. " I can no longer join in 
the petitions of our worthy pastor for reconciliation," wrote j\Irs. Adams, 
the most gifted woman of the period. Franklin, returning from Cam- 
bridge, where he had been sent on an important mission to Washington, 
api)eared before Congress in a stern mood. He had recently written to 
Dr. Priestley that humorous sumnung of the grand result of the first cam- 
paign which was a standing paragraph in tlie newspapers for years : 
" P>ritain, at the expense of three millions, has killed one hundred and 
fifty Yankees this campaign, which is twenty thousand pounds a head, 
and at Bunker Hill she gained a mile of ground, half of which she lost 
again l)y taking post on Ploughed Hill. During the same time sixty 
thousand children have Vieen born in America. From these data Dr. 
Price's mathematical head will easily calculate the time and expense ne- 
cessary to kill us all, and conquer our whole territory." But it was a 
long time before Franklin could pen any more jokes upon the war. He 
was fully prepared now to go to all lengths in opposition to England. 

The New York Congress appealed to the Continental Congress for a 
military force to disarm every man on Long Island who voted adversely 
to their existence as a body, and a committee consisting of William Liv- 
ingston, John Jay, and Samuel Adams reported promptly and favorably. 
Full authority was invested in the New York Congress to direct and con- 
trol the troops employed in this delicate service, which was assigned to 
Jerseymen under Colonel (afterwards General) Nathaniel Heard, assisted 
by Lord Stirling's battalion, and which was accomplished before the end 
of January. 

Meanwhile a little pamphlet of thirty pages, penned by a literary ad- 
venturer unknown to fame, who had been but a year in this coun- 

' -' . Jan. 2. 

try, and entitled " Common Sense " by Dr. Rush of Philadelphia, 
electrified the whole continent. Thomas Paine had the genius to con- 
dense into vivid expression the political doctrines of George Fox, William 
Penn, Turgot, Adam Smith, Franklin, and Jefferson, and the press of 
Pennsylvania placed it before the people. It was a startling success. 

do HLSTOny of the city of new YORK. 

It fell into everybody's hands. Edition after edition was, sold. It is not 
dull reading even now. Of the grave point at issue it said : — 

" The .sun never shone tm a cause of greater worth, "i" is not the affair of a 
city, a country, a province, or a kingdom, but of a continent, of at least one eighth 
part of the liabitable globe. 'T is not the concern of a day, a year, an age ; 
posterity are virtually involved in it even to tlie end of time." 

Its reasoning was that Europe and not England was the parent country 
of America. This idea struck deep into the heart of New York, where 
the majority of the inhabitants were not of English descent. Its claim 
was that this continent could not reap a single advantage by connection 
with Great Britain ; that its business could not be managed with any 
degree of convenience by a power so distant, and so very ignorant of its 
geography and resources. 

"There is something absurd in supposing a continent to be perpetually gov- 
erned by an i.sland ; in no instance hath nature made the satellite larger than 
the primary [ilanet." 

During the same memorable month of January General Schuyler per- 
formed a service for the country, without liloodshed, which was of the 
first importance in its bearing upon coming events. New York, 
the central and all-important link, in the confederacy, contained 
an element of savage power which occasioned the utmost solicitude. 
Arms and ammunition were said to be concealed in Tryon County, and 
it was well understood that Sir John Johnson had fortified Johnson Hall, 
and gathered about him his Scotch Highland tenants and Indian allies, 
intending to carry fire and sword along the valley of the Mohawk. While 
Schuyler was deploring the condition of the army in Canada, and entreat- 
ing for three thousand men to reinforce Arnold at Quebec, the Continental 
Congress, acting from the advice of the New York Congress, ordered him 
to take measures for disarming these hostile forces in the interior of New 
York. He forthwith hastened from Albany at the head of a body of 
soldiers, defying the winti-y storms and deep drifts of snow, and joined by 
Colonel Herkimer with the militia of Tryon County, marched over the 
frozen bosom of the Mohawk River and suddenly appeared before Sir 
John's stronghold on the 19th of January. Eesistance was hopeless, and 
Sir John capitulated, surrendering all weapons of war and military 

Jan. 20. • 1 . . 1 ■ •*" 1 ■ 1 1 

stores m his possession, and giving his parole not to take nj) arms 
against America. On these conditions he was granted a permit to go as far 
westward in Tryon County as the German Flats and Kingsland districts, 
and to every part of the colony southward and eastward of these districts ; 
provided he did not go into any seaport town. On the following day, all 


things being adjusted, Schuyler with his troops in line, and his officers and 
men instructed to preserve respectful silence, conducted the surrender with 
gentlemanly regard to the feelings of Sir John and his Scottish adherents ; 
Sir John himself was allowed to retain a few favorite family side-arms, 
making a list of them. The whole party marched tu the front, grounded 
their arms, and were dismissed with timely advice as to their conduct to- 
wards America. For his discreet management of the whole affair, Schuyler 
was warmly applauded by Congress, and congratulated by Washington. 

It is impossible to regard the wise and effective movements of New 
York at this critical juncture but with admiration. The adverse influ- 
ences within her own territory were being overcome gradually, but with 
a high hand. Governor Tryon, castled on a British ship in the harbor, 
was keeping up a suspicious intercourse with the citizens, and the com- 
mercial classes had little faith in the success of what was termed the 
" rebellion." Everybody suspected everybody ; even the strongest assur- 
ances of attachment to either side in the controversy were often doubted. 
The scholarly training of the men who were conspicuous in the Xew 
York Congress is apparent through their intolerance of injustice in any 
form. They were hopeful amid the network of difficulties which sur- 
rounded them, and displayed a breadth of vision which the rash and 
narrow-minded had not the ability to perceive. They empowered county 
committees in eveiy part of the province to apjirehend all persons noto- 
riously disaffected, and by judicious examinations ascertain if they were 
guilty of any hostile act or machination. Imprisonment or banishment 
was the penalty. Committees thus appointed could call upon the militia 
at any moment to aid them in the discharge of their functions. 

Isaac Sears, for his meddling propensities and iiujustifiable and riotous 
conduct, had been completely dropped out of the New York councils, and 
soured with chagrin proceeded to the camp at Cambridge, where he in- 
dustriously labored to convince the generals of the army that New York 
was a " nest of tories," and in imminent danger from them. He so mis- 
represented the cdiief men in the popular movement that many of the New- 
Englanders regarded New York as but a step removed from monarchical 
alliance. He obtained the ear of General Charles Lee, a highly cultivated 
production of European warfare, who, having lost the favor of the British 
ministry and all chance of promotion, been distinguished in the battles 
of Poland, and led a restless life generally, had taken up his abode in Yir- 
ginia, and espoused the American cause. Prior to his appointment by Con- 
gress as major-general he had been intimate with Horatio Gates, and a fre- 
quent visitor at Mount Vernon ; he was whimsical, careless and slovenly in 
person and dress, — for although he had associated with kings and princes 


he had also caiapaigued with the Mohawks and Cossacks, — and was always 
attended by a legion of dogs that shaved his affections with his horses, 
and took their seats by him at table. " I must have some object to em- 
brace," he said, misauthropically. " When I can be convinced that men 
are as worthy as dogs, 1 shall transfer my benevolence, and become as 
stanch a philanthropist as the cantling Addison affected to be." ^ He 
was a general fault-hnder with those in authority, and catching the notion 
from Sears, applied at once to Washington for an order to jjroceed to New 
York " and expel the Tories." 

Washington had not yet been apprised of the vigorous measures adopted 
by New York, and yielded to what seemed a necessity. He charged Lee 
to communicate with and act in concert with the New Y'^ork Congress, 
and himself wrote asking their co-operation. A military force would 
have been gladly welcomed had it been in command of an officer who 
respected civil authority ; but when the tidings reached the metropolis 
that Lee, with Sears as his adjutant-general, was advancing at the head 
of fifteen hundred Connecticut men, without so much as intimating his 
design, the New Y^ork authorities were filled with just indignation. 
Washington scrupulously respected the civil government of each Colony 
as well as of congresses. Lee scoffed at it all. The Committee of Safety 
sent a messenger to Stamford to ask Lee that the troops of Con- 
necticut might not pass the border until the purpose of their 
coming should be explained, arguing that it. was impolitic to provoke 
hostilities from the ships of war until the city was in a better condition 
of defense. 

Lee wrote to Washington making a jest of the letters received, calling 
them " woi'ully hysterical " ; and he was careful not to soothe New 

Jan. 23. i i V, 

York in his reply. The Committee immediately w'rote to the 
Continental Congress, who dispatched a special committee at once to 
harmonize matters. Lee entered New York, February 4, on a litter, hav- 
ing been attacked with the gout while travelling over the rough winter 

roads of Connecticut, and was irritable, arrogant, and unreason- 

Feb. 14. ' ' o ' 

able. He conveyed the impression that his office was to concj^uer 
New York rather than offer the city protection from a foreign foe It 
was a cold stormy Sunday, and by a singidar coincidence, Sir Henry 
Clinton's squadron, which had recently sailed mysteriously from Boston, 
appeared in the harbor about the same hour. 

Two hostile forces thus facing each other over her bulwarks threw the 
city into convulsions ; it was supposed the crisis had come, and that the 
streets of the metropolis would shortly be deluged with blood. Citizens 

^ Letters of Lee to Adams. 


fled in wild dismay. Every wagon and cart that could be found was 
employed in trausporting valuable eileets into the country ; boats were 
swittly laden, and men, %\omeu, and children ran through the streets with 
white, scared faces. Whole families made their escape as best they could, 
taking little or much with them as the circumstances allowed. The 
weather was so severe that travel in every direction was attended with 
peculiar peril and distress. The rich knew not where to go, and the poor, 
thrown upon the charity of interior towns, suffered from a complica- 
tion of ills. The floating cakes of ice in the rivers compelled the Asia 
and other war vessels to hug the wharves, which added greatly to the ter- 
ror and confusion.! Xever had New York seen a time of such agonized 
alarm, such a breaking \\\> of homes, or .such a series of business misfor- 
tunes. Hundreds of men were suddenly deprived of the means of sup- 
porting their families. Harsiu wrote to Mr. William Eadclift,^ 
concerning a rumor that fifteen sail were in the lower bay; and said that 
for four tlays, although nothing material happened, the people scattered as 
fast as possible. He also said new life was given to the moving, " as 
if it was the Last Day," on the 7th and 8th by the arrival of Lord 
Stirling with one thousand men from New Jersey, and the anchoring of 
another British ship in full view of the city. 

General Lee aspired to supreme military power, and was charmed with 
the opportunity of exercising a separate command from his chief; he 
gi'ew amiable as the danger increased, and patronizingly conferred with 
the New York Committee of Safety in regard to defensive measures. He 
went out with Lord Stirling to " view the landscape o'er," and determine 
upon points where fortifications would be desirable, after which he wrote 
to Washington : " What to do with the city, I own, puzzles me. It is so 
encircled with deep navigable waters, that whoever connnands the sea 
must command the town." He told the New York Committee that " it 
was impossible to make the place absdlutely secure," using, perhaps 
unconsciously, the precise language addressed him when remon,strated witli 
sn earnestly against the introductiou of New England soldiers into New 

It was no time now to waste words. The Committee, in their anxiety 
to delay the bombardment of the metropolis until their ships, sent privately 
for powder, unmolested by the men-of-war, should have returned, and 
suitable preparations made for decisive action, used every argument and 
took every precaution to prevent the provocation of hostilities prema- 
turely ; the situation required prudent management. No representative 

' Trymi to Dartmmdii, Fi'liruarv S, 1776. 
^ New Vork in the lievulutiun, SO. 


body of men oo the continent were more thoroughly true to the country 
than the New York Congress and Committee of Safety, a statement 
no one will question after reading the simple and clear record of their 
daily proceedings. Their policy, so much criticised by their neighbors, 
was dictated -by a shrewd regard for the public cause as well as their un- 
doubted duty to care for a defenseless city ; and it proved the wisest in 
the end. They bore the despicable abuse of Isaac Sears, who executed 
Lee's orders with vicious ferocity ; the reviliugs of Waterbury, who de- 
clared that " things would never go well unless the city of New York 
was crushed down by the Connecticut people " ; and the inconvenience of 
harboring so many troops from other States, who seemed impressed with 
the notion that they had come to chastise a stiff-necked city rather than 
to aid in repelling an invasion ; while at the same time they were calling 
out the citizens to assist in fortifying the island, who responded with 
wonderfid alacrity, — the whole people, men and boys of aU ages, working 
with cheerfid and untiring zeal.^ 

Meanwhile Clinton sent for the Mayor, and expressed much surprise 
and concern at the distress caused by his arrival ; which was merely, he 
said, a short visit to his friend Tryon. He professed a juvenile love 
for the place, said no more troops were coming, and that he should 
go away as soon as possible.^ " If this is but a visit to his friend 
Tryon," writes Lee, " it is the most whimsical piece of civility I ever 
heard of" It was a sore trial for Lee to be obliged to consult committees 
at every step, and he took not a few on his own responsibility ; one of 
these was to terminate the supplying of British ships in the harbor with 
eatables. He wrote to Washington, February 17 : " Governor Tryon and the 
Asia continue between Nutten and Bedlow's Islands. It has pleased his 
Excellency, in violation of his compact, to seize several vessels from Jersey 
laden with flour. It has in return pleased my Excellency to stop all provis- 
ions from the city, and cut off all intercourse with him, — a measure which 
has thrown the Mayor, Council, and Tories into agonies." Lee's course 
confirmed the notions of Congress in regard to his superior military ability, 
and in the midst of his schemes for New York they appointed him to 
the command of the newly created Department of the South. He left the 
city, March 7, in the same critically caustic humor as when he came, the 
C(3mmittee, and even Washington himself, falling under the lash of 

March 7. ' ° ° 

his disrespect. Reaching Virginia, he wrote to Washington that 
the members of the Congress of New York were " angels of decision when 

1 Bancroft's Hist. U. S. 

" iSir Henry Clinton was on his way to join Admiral Parker in his movements on South 


compared with the Committee of Safety assembled at Williamsburg." He 
wrote furthermore iu regard to the situation of affairs, which illustrates 
forcibly the ditticulties encountered iu every part of America during this 
period of suspense : " I am like a dog in a dancing-school ; I know not 
wliere to turn myself, where to fix myself The circumstances of the 
country intersected with navigable ri\-e)s, the uncertainty of the enemy's 
designs and motions, who can tiy in an instant to any spot they choose 
with their canvas wings, throw me, or would throw Julius Casar, into this 
inevitable dilemma ; I may possibly be in the North, when, as Eichard 
says, I should serve my sovereign in the West. I can only act from sur- 
mise, and have a very good chance of surmising wrong." 

Lee's predictions that Xew York wordd go " into hysterics " at his de- 
parture were not realized. Lord Stirling remained iu temporary com- 
mand, and pushed the defenses of the city already projected as rapidly as 
resources permitted. He was an energetic and conspicuous oificer, and 
with family interests and connections on every side, was stimulated to the 
utmost effort. A letter written on the 12th furnishes a faint glimmer of 
light as to what was going on in the way of preparation aside from eaith- 
works and the sinking of batteries into cellars : — 

"At Xew York we have a founder who has already cast 14 or 15 excellent 
brass field pieces. We have a foundry for iron ordnance, from 24-pounJers to 
swivels. As to iron shot, we liave plenty, and, on a iiinch, could supply tlie 
wliole world ; and as for small arms, we are not at the least loss, except for the 
locks, iu which braneli there will soon be a great number of hands employed. 
The means made use of to introduce the manufacture of saltpetre has met with 
the desired success ; so tliat the women make it in various parts of the country. 
From the various accounts, we shall by mi<lsumraer have 30 or 40 tons, or more, 
of our own manufacture. In one manufactory they make 50 cwt. per week. 
At Newbury in Xew England they make at least 100 lbs. per day. In short, it 
is now as easy to make saltpetre as it is to make soft soap. As to brimstone and 
lead, the bowels of our country produce more than sufficient for a war of 1000 
years. Iu a sliort time we shall have at least thirty ships of war, from thirty- 
eight guns downwards, besides (if the ministry carry on their piratical war) a 
great number of jirivateers. AVhen you return you will be surprised to see what 

the mother of invention has done for us I wish I could convey to you a 

small idea of the ardor wliicli intlames our young men, who turn out with more 
alacrity on the least alarm than they would to a ball." 

On the 14t]i Washington wrote to Stirling that the enemy appeared to 
be on the eve of evacuating Boston, and he presumed their destination 
was Xew York. Stirling immediately sent urgent appeals for troops in 
every direction. Colonel Samuel Drake was alreatly here with minute- 


men from Westchester County, and Colonel Swartwout and Colonel Van 
Ness each with a command from Duchess County. He ordered over the 
Third New Jersey Eegiment,' and wrote to six of the nearest counties of 
that State for three hundred men each ; while Congress sent forward five 
or six Pennsylvania regiments. The Connecticut men were impatient to 
return home to attend to their sj^ring iarming, but many of them were 
induced to remain two weeks beyond their term of enlistment under Wa- 
terbury and Ward, until Governor Trumbull could supply their places 
witli troops commanded by Silliman and Talcott. In case of an alarm, 
they were to parade immediately at the Battery, on the Common, and in 
front of Trinity Church. On Long Island a guard was posted at the Nar- 
rows and another at Rockaway, to report the approach of ships, and the 
Sandy Hook Light was dismantled. In the city cannon were mounted 
in the batteries as fast as completed ; and all the male inhabitants, black 
and white, worked by order of the Committee on the fortihcations, the 
blacks every day, the whites every other day.^ F. Ehinelander wrote to a 
friend : " To see the vast number of houses shut up, one would think the 
city almost evacuated. Women and children are scarcely to lie seen in 
the streets. Troops are daily coming in ; they break open and quarter 
themselves in any houses they find shut up. Necessity knows no law." 

With the first April sunshine came General Israel Putnam, the redoubt- 
able liero of Indian anil French adventure in the old Colonial wars, having 
been sent forward by Washington to command New York until 

Aoril 4 4^ o 

his own arrival. He took up his abode in the Kennedy mansion. 
No. 1 Broadway, which had Ijeen vacated by the family, now in New 
Jersey.^ Some of his officers quartered themselves temporarily in the 
Watts mansion adjoining, the former city residence of the notable coun- 
selor.^ An authentic incident is related of tlie manner in wliich Hon. John 
Watts, Sen., left the country. Some of his letters had been intercepted 

1 Advertisements which illustrate the extent of slavery in the New York of tliat period are 
found in all of the newspapers of the day, of which the following is a specimen : " March 12, 
1776. Run away from the subscriher, a yellow wench, named Sim ; about five feet ten inches 
high, had on when she went away a narrow-striped homespun short gown, a wide-striped 
homespun petticoat, speaks good English, walks very much pan-ot-toed, has Indian hair, a 
middling likely wench. Whoever brings her to John Rutter, in Cherry Street, shall receive 
a handsome reward." — Co)istittth'oncd Gazette, 

^ See Vol. I. 655. Captain Kennedy was superseded in the Royal Navy in 1766, for refus- 
ing to receive the stamp papers on board his vessel. He was placed under arrest at Mor- 
rLstown, New Jersey, in 1776, by the Colonial authorities, — at which time he was on half 
pay from the government, — hut was afterwards released on parole ; the next year he 
was suspected of giving aid to the enemy through his wife. His situation on the fence be- 
tween the two powers was precarious in the extreme. 

s See Vol. I. 501, 654, 732. 


on their way to England, and read at a Xew York coffee-house, hefore a 
L-rowd of excited people, who became infuriated on the instant and surged 
about his dwelling, threatening violence and destruction. Judge Robert 
11. Livingston (the father of the Chancellor), who lived just above, on 
Broadway, was returning fmni cnurt. dressed in his scarlet robes, and see- 
ing the danger to his frieml, — for however opposed politically, the two 
great leaders of opposing principles were at heart warmly attached to each 
other, — he mounted the steps of the Watts mansion at the peril of his life, 
and waved his hand to the angry multitude, commanding silence ; he was 
gifted in oratory, and held the crowd spell-bound with his eloquence, 
taking the opportunity unseen to whisper directions for hiding Watts in a 
back building; and continued to speak until the rescue was complete, 
when he was escorted by the rioters to his own door with many cheers. 
That night Counselor Watts retired on board a man-of-war and shortly 
sailed for Europe. Before his departure, however, he clasped Judge Li\'- 
ingston in his arms, exclaiming, with passionate warmth, " God Almighty 
bless you, Robert ; I do not believe you have an enemy in the w^orld." 
Mrs. Watts accompanied her husliand, but died two months after her 
arrival in Europe ; and the death of Watts himself was announced from 
Wales within a brief period. Juilge Livingston's own death was recorded 
shortly after the scene above described. 

Rigorous military rule was established over the city; soldiers and in- 
habitants were all subjected to strict discii^line. Nobody was permitted to 
pass a sentry without the countersign, furnished on application to a brigade- 
major ; and any person caught in the act of holding communication with 
the ships in the bay was treated as an enemy. The work of intrench- 
ing went on with spirit. The batteries jilanned for both sides of the 
East River were intended to secure safe transit between Long Island and 
New York : there was one sunk in a cellar on Coenties Slip, near foot of 
Wall Street ; Waterbury's Battery was located at the foot of Catherine 
Street, where the river was narrowest ; another battery on the Rutgers' 
lower hill ; forts were lieiug erected on Jones', Bayard's, and Lispenard's 
hills, north of the town, to cover the approach by land in that direction; 
and still another at the foot of East Eighty-eighth Street to blockade the 
l)assage at Hell Gate. That part of Fort George which faced Broadway 
was dismantled to prevent its lieing converted into a citadel ; and bat- 
teries were projected along the west side of the i.sland at various points, 
although it was agreed that the Hudson was so extremely wide and dee]i 
that all attempts to obstruct the passage of .ships would be fruitless ; works 
of considerable strength were in progress at Kingsl.iridge. The map of 
New York Island, on the following page, has been compiled from autlientic 


New York Island 



Compiled for 

-\History of New York . 

Hl.)[ it •> \ \ 


sources with direct reference to the convenience of the reader in tracing 
the course of events and armies during this rarely interesting period of 
American history. It serves also with its truthful lines t(j illustrate the 
wonderful growth of New York City iu a century. 

During tlie mouth of Jlarch, while George III. was exulting over the 
acquisitiiiu of twenty thousand Oeruian soldiers, and Joseph Brant, a 
Mohawk sachem, was standing among the courtiers at Whitehall, promis- 
ing assistance from the Si.x Xations to chastise those " bad children, the 
New England people," and the ministry were strengthening their impetu- 
ous arrogance with the near ]irospect of victory, Washington, through a 
series of skillful maneuvers, in which he hazarded comparatively nothing, 
wa.s actually putting the British army to flight from the city of Boston. 
Never before was so important a residt obtained at so small a cost ot 
human life. 

Howe's orders for the instant evacuation of Boston fell upon the inhab- 
itants who had rallied round the standard of the king like a bolt of thun- 
der from a clear skj. They had never once dreamed of such a contin- 
gency. They had regarded the gibbet as the inevitable destination of the 
American patriots. Their faith was pinned to the potency of the British 
arms, and they laughed at fear while umler such pnitection. Now they 
were stricken with horror ami despair. The best that England could do 
for their safety was to offer a crowded passage to the shores of bleak and 
dismal Nova Scotia, where they must remain in e.xile indefinitely, de- 
pendent on monarchical charity grutlgingly tloled from a pinched treasury. 
Many of these loyalists, as in New York, were among the wealthiest and 
most upright people of the Colony, who acted from a j)rinciple of honor 
in adhering to the cause of their sovereign ; others were time-servers, 
desperate of character, or governed in their conduct by their confidence 
in the strength and success of the crown. Their anguish in bidding adieu 
to homes and comforts and estates, as they ran wildly to and fro iu the 
dead of night, preparing for embarkation, can easily be imagined. Eleven 
hundred of these " wretched Ijeings " (so styled by Washington in his dis- 
patches), with eight thousand valiant troops, were precipitately hustled 
on board one hundred and twentv transports, between the hours of 

March 17. " • . , i i -i 

four and half jiast nine in the morning. At ten o clock \. M. sails 
were fluttering in the lireeze, and the gallant forces of King George III. 
were scudding from the town they had been sent to punish, leaving be- 
hind them stores valued at £ 30,000, some two hundred and fifty pieces 
of cannon spiked, some large iron sea-mortars, which they in vain at- 
tempted to burst, and one hundred ami fifty horses.^ Several British 

1 Heath, 4.3 : TTnbnes'.i Ammh, II. 242 ; yash's Jotcnuil, 9, 51, 52 ; Sparks, 164. 


store-ships consigned to Boston steered unsuspiciously into the harbor 
and were seized ; one of these brought more than seven times as much 
powder as contained in the whole American camp. The destination oi' 
the British fleet was Halifax, but it could not be expected to tarry long- 
in that region of inactivity. " General Howe," wrote Washington, " has 
a grand maneuver in view — or — has made an inglorious retreat." ' K^ew 
York was the point towards which all eyes turned, whether in hope, ap- 
prehension, or despair, its reduction being of the first importance to the 
mother country. 

Washington marched triumphantly into Boston, meeting with a soul- 
stirring welcome, and made vigorous preparations for the transfer of his 
army to New York ; not venturing to move, however, until the hostile 
fleet had actually put to sea from Nantasket Eoad, where it loitered ten 
days. During the last days of March several regiments were sent for- 
ward to the metropolis ; the artillery were in motion on the 29th, journey- 
ing over the muddy highways to New London, thence to New York by 
slooji.^ Washington left Cambridge on the 4th of April on horseback, 
attended by his suite, — stopping in Providence, where he was enthusiasti- 
cally honored ; in Norwich, where he was met by Governor Trum- 

AprUV. , 

bull of Connecticut ; in New London, where he tarried long enough 
to hasten the embarkation of troops awaiting his arrival ; in Lyme, at 

the moutli of the Connecticut Eiver, where he spent the night 

April 9 'JO 

with John McCurdy ; ^ and in New Haven, — reaching New York 
on the 13th of April. He established Jieadquarters at the Riclimond Hill 
House, and was joined by IMi'.s. Washington and family. 

As if in confirmation of David Hartley's prediction in the House of 
Commons on the last day of Febraary, that England in applying to foreign 
powers for aid was setting an example to America which ndght prove dis- 
astrous to all possibility of reconciliation, a secret congressional committee, 
of whom John Jay and Franklin were conspicuous members, dispatched 
Silas Deane of Connecticut to France on a mission of the utmost delicacy, 
that of learning how far assistance might be expected from that nation in 
case the Colonies should form themselves into an independent state. 
Deane was an accomplished, college-bred man, of elegant manners and 
striking appearance, accustomed to a showy style of living, equipage, 

1 WnsMncjton to Joseph Reed, March 28, 1776. 

^ Solomon Nash was connected with the artillery, and his private daily record of pass- 
ing events has proved of great service in fixing dates and corroborating other authorities. He 
joined the army on January 1, 1776, in Roxbury, and his circumstantial Journal covers the 
entire year, until his return to Boston, January 9, 1777. He was a descendant of the famous 
Thomas Nash who figuied so prominently in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. 

3 See Vol. I. page 719. 


and appointment, and a natural diplomat. He was chairman of the 
Committee of Safety in Connecticut, and his residence in Wetliersfield 
was the rendezvous of nearly all the public characters of the period. 
William Livingston called it " Hospitality Hall " ; Lossing speaks of it as 
the " Webb House." ^ He was a member of the first Continental Couj'ress, 
taking his step-son Samuel B. Webb with him to I'hiladelpliia as private 
secretary. He was perfectly informed on American affairs, and, CongTess 
having already received intimation of the kindly disposition of France, he 
was able to accomplish the grand result desired. He sailed in April, and 
reached Paris in June. 

The affairs of Canada were agitating the public mind at this moment 
also. The army was dwindling away aljout Quebec, where Arnold had 
maintained the blockade with an iron face since the fall of Montgomery. 
The intense cold, absence of comforts of every description, scarcity of 
wholesome food, sickness in camp, and the expiration of enlistments, 
had combined to demoralize the remnant of troops remaining. There was 
no uncertainty concerning the reinforcements from England destined for 
the relief of Quebec, which M'ould arrive as soon as the ice should break 
ujj in the St. Lawrence liiver. Schuyler had appealed again and again 
for troops to sustain the besiegers ; but Washington, with his poverty of 
material for defending a continent, could do little ; he had sent two com- 
panies of artillery from Eoxbury, in March, which he knew not hov.- to 
spare, — those of Captain Eustis, and Captain Ebenezer Stevens, afterwards 
Lieutenant-Colonel of Artillery, who, th'agging guns through the deep 
snow which covered the surface of Xew Hampshire, cutting their own 
roads and building their own rafts and bridges, progressed slowly. Con- 
gress, finally, in alarm at the exposed condition of Northern Xew York, 
expressed a strong desire to have four, even ten regiments detached from 
the forces in and about the metropolis and sent to Canada at once. 
Washington acquiesced shortly after he reached Xew York, although he 

1 Silas Deane married the widowed mother of Samuel B. ^Vebb in 17.53 (and after her death. 
Miss Saltonstall). The " Webb House " was where Washington and Rochambeau met in 1781, 
and arranged the campaign against Cornwallis in Virginia. The suites of the two commandei-s, 
consisting of forty-five jier.sons each, were distributed among the jieople of Wethersfield. Only 
Washington and Rochambeau slept in the great double house, with its wide hall in the center, 
and rooms on each side with wall decorations of rich crimson velvet paper. Samuel B. 
Webb, afterwards general, was descended in the direct line from Richard Webb, who came to 
Boston from England in 1632, and in connection with Hooker, Hopkins, and Willys, settled 
Hartford in 1635. He was in the battle of Bunker Hill, immediately after which he was 
appointed aid-de-camp to Putnam ; and in .June. 1776, at the age of twenty-two, was made 
private secretary and aid-de-camp to Washington, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. He 
was the father of General .Tames Watson Webb, and the grandfather of General .\lexander 
S. Webb of the New York City College. 


said, " I am at a loss to know the designs of the enemy. Should they 
send the whole force under General Howe up the Elver St. Lawrence to 
recover Canada, the troops gone and now going will be insufficient to 
stop their progress ; and should they send an equal force to possess this 
city and secure the navigation uf the Hudson River, the troops left behind 
will not be sufficient to oppose them ; and yet, for anything we know, 
they may attempt both." Meanwhile Congress sent a commission to 
Canada clothed with extraordinary power. It consisted of Dr. Franklin, 
Samuel Chase of Maryland, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, and John Car- 
roll, brother of the latter, a Catholic priest who had been educated in 
France, and spoke French like a native. They were to confer with Ar- 
nold, but their chief business was to enlist Canada into a union with the 
Colonies, raise troops and issue military comnussions. Equipped for this 
journey of five hundred miles, they tarried in New York City several 
days. " It is no more the gay, polite place it used to be esteemed, but 
almost a desert," wrote the venerable priest. Lord Stirling engaged a 
sloop, upon which they embarked for Albany April 2, where they were 
warmly welcomed by Schuyler, and entertained in his handsome home 
for two days. On the 9th they left for Saratoga, accompanied by 
^ ' the General and Mrs. Schuyler, and their two beautiful lilack-eyed 
daughters, who were so full of life and vivacity that the rough ride of 
thirty-two miles over muddy roads speckled with snow-drifts was divested 
of half its tediousness. A week spent at Schuyler's hospitable and well- 
appointed country-seat in Saratoga, and the aged philosopher (Franklin 
was now a man of seventy), who had been suffering from severe indisposi- 
tion, was able to proceed. Two days and a half of wagon-transit brought 
them to Lake George. Schuyler had gone before to prepare a bateau, 
upon which they embarked April 19, and pushed their way to its upper 
end through the floating masses of ice, sailing wlien they could, rowing 
when they must, and going ashore for their meals. Six yoke of oxen 
drew their bateau on wheels across the four-mile neck of land which 
separates the two lakes, and after a delay of five days they were afloat on 
Lake Champlain. They reached St. Johns in four days, and thought they 
had done well. Then came another day of tiresome travel in torturing 
calashes, which brought them to Montreal, where Arnold, who had been 
superseded by Wooster, before Quebec, on the 18th day of April, received 
them with a great body of officers and gentry, the firing of cannon, and 
other military honors. 

They presently found that Canada was lost. Congress had no credit 
there ; even the most trifling service could not be procured without the 
payment of gold or silver in advance. The army had contracted debts 


which were manufacturing enemies faster than a regiment of commis- 
sioners could make friends for America. And, shortly, the news reached 
Montreal that a British tieet had lauded soldiers at Quebec, who had 
attacked and put the little American army to flight. A]>pareMtly noth- 
ing remained but to fortify St. Johns, conduct the routed army to that 
point, and make a despei'ate attemjjt to check the southward progress of 
the British into Xew York. 

The indefatigable Schuyler assisted the travelers on their homeward 
journey down the lakes, entertained them at his, and, owing to the 
illness of Franklin, sent his own chariot to convey them the whole dis- 
tance to Xew York City. It was about the middle of June when they 
reached Philadelphia. 

The tidings of Canadian reverses had preceded them, spreading con- 
sternation through the northern districts. Schuyler was accused in the 
most extraordinary manner. He had never been loved by the New Eng- 
land people, having in all the boundary disputes been the champion of 
New York in opposition to Eastern claims. Now, he was charged with 
having neglected to forward supplies and reinforcements ; indeed, as the 
commander of the Northern department of the army, he was declai-ed re- 
sponsible for its failures and humiliations. His magnanimity in allowing 
Sir John John.son to go at large was misconstrued into a crime ; presently 
insinuations were afloat that he was untrue to America, and town-meetings 
were held in various places and jilots concocted for his arrest and im- 
prisonment. These base imputations were not generally advanced or 
countenanced ; but Washington was addressed on the subject, as was also 
Governor Trumbull and others. Washington was indignant, said it was 
one of the diabolical schemes of the Tories to create distrust, and pro- 
claimed his utmost confidence in Schuyler's integrity. Schuyler denounced 
the scandal as infamous, and demanded a court of inquiry. 

On the 19th Washington was summoned, Ijy Congress, to Philadelphia, 
whither he was accompanied by Mrs. Washington, accepting' the 
hospitalities of John Hancock fifteen days. There were serious 
divisions among the members ; it was known that commissioners from 
Parliament were on the Avater, coming with proposals of accommodation, 
the engagement of German troops by England indicated unsparing hos- 
tility, and the hazards of a protracted war were fully comprehended. 
The majority, however, were for vigorous measures, and it was resoh'ed 
to swell the army in New York with thirteen thousand eight hundred 
militia, and institute a flying camp of ten thousand to be stationed in 
New Jersey. A war-office was established, which went into operation 
June 12. AmoncT those in Cousiress to whom Washington turned for 


counsel concerning the interior defenses of New York at this alarming 
crisis, was George Clinton, whose life at the ancestral homestead in 
Orange County had familiarized him with the physical and topographical 
peculiarities of the region along the Hudson above the city. His brother, 
James Clinton, was stationed with a considerable force in the Higlilands ; 
he had been with Montgomery at the siege of St. Johns and the capture 
of Montreal, and, even earlier, while yet a lieardless boy, had taken les- 
sons in that great American military school, the French War, in which 
their father Charles Clinton was an efficient officer under the Crown. 
Both brothers were men of military genius and sound judgment. 

The question of what to do with the Tories was discussed with niuch 
warmth during this conference. Many had been apprehended, some dis- 
armed, and not a few incarcerated. To discriminate justly between those 
who were criminal as covert enemies, and such as indulged in a peaceable 
difference of opinion, was by no means easy. Rancorous partisans com- 
plained of the want of patriotic vigor in the New York Congress, because 
of the methods used to avoid confounding the innocent with the guilty 
and prevent unmerited abuse. A proposal which found favor, however, 
emanated from this body, that secret committees, chosen by the civil au- 
thority of each Colony, should act in connection with the military leaders 
in subduing an element so tlu-eateniug to the chances of success. John 
Jay, Philip Livingston, Gouverueur Morris, Thomas Tredwell, Lewis Gra- 
ham, and Leonard Gansevoort composed the earliest " Committee on Cou- 
s]3iracy " in New York under these resolves. They were all memljcrs of 
the Third New York Congress, which, elected in April, assembled aliout 
the middle of May, and continued in session until June 20. 

The public fever was at its highest ebb during these dark days of ex- 
pectant calamity. Mischief was brewing on every hand. Schuyler dis- 
covered that Sir John Johnson had broken his parole, and was preparing to 
co-operate with the British army at the head of savage bands of warriors. 
Colonel Elias Dayton was sent with a strong force to arrest him, but he 
escaped and took refuge among the Indians on the borders of the lakes, 
accompanied by a crowd of armed tenants. Dayton took temporary 
possession of Johnson Hall, seized Sir Jolni's papers and read them aloud 
in the ]iresence of his wife, the beautiful and accomplished daughter ol' 
the counselor, John Watts, and finally conveyed her lady.ship as a hostage 
to Albany. The rumor followed quickly that Sir Jolm was actually 
coming down the valley of the Mohawk prepared to lay everything waste, 
and Schuyler luirriedly collected such material as he could command, in 
the vicinity of Albany, to oppose the anticipated attack. 

Meanwliile New York City was alive with conspiracies, imaginary and 



real. The secret committee made out a list of suspected persons and 
served upon each a printed summons to appear and give security on oath 
that they would have nothing to do with any measures liostile to the 
union nf the Colonies. Heading this formidable list were the counselors 
Oliver de Lancey, Hugh Wallace, and Charles Ward Apthorpe, who were 
in the haliit of visiting the go\'ernor on boaril the Duchess of Gordon, in 
the harbor, and were said to be privately offering bribes to induce men to 

The Apthorpe Mansion. 

enlist in the service of the king. Apthorpe was a scholarly man of fifty, 
of quiet habits, cultivated tastes, and social prominence, with no special 
inclination to fight either for a crowned head across the water or a crown 
of heads upon this side. He built the stately old mansion of the sketch, 
one of the finest specimens of the domestic architecture of that period in 
America, shortly before the Kevolution. It stands on the corner of Ninth 
Avenue and Ninety-First Street, and is known at the present time as Elm 
Park. Its recessed portico, Corinthian columns, corresponding pilasters, 
and high-arched doorway at the middle of the house opening into a hall 


wide enough for a cotilliou party, give it an aristocratic air even now, witlj 
its weight of years and interesting associations. Apthorpe was able to 
satisfy tiie committee in regard to his jieaceal>Ie intentions. His property 
in New York was untouched at the close of the war (although he had 
large estates in Maine and i\Iassachusetts which were confiscated), and he 
resided in his elegant Bloomingdale mansion, exercising the generous 
hospitality of a courtly gentleman of wealth, until his death in 1797. 
In the winter of 1789, the beauty, wealth, and fashion of New York 
City gathered under this roof to witness the marriage ceremony of his 
" lovely and accomplished " daughter Maria, to the distinguished Hugh 
Williamson, Member of Congress from North Carolina, a bachelor of tiity 
years. ^ 

The President of the Third New York Congress was Nathaniel Wood- 
hull, who had served in the French War, connnanding a New York regi- 
ment under General Amherst in the final reduction of Canada in 1760. 
His wife was Uuth, daughter of Nicoll Floyd, and sister of William Floyd, 
one of the active members of the Continental Congress.^ He was fifty- 
four years of age, brave, generous, upright, and a chivalrous defender of 
colonial rights. He was appointed a brigadier-general, for which his mili- 
tary training and experience had admirably fitted him, and with the first 
intimation of the landing of the on Long Island, he placed himself 
at the head of his command.^ In his necessary absences during the ses- 
sion John Haring presided over this Congress, a tall, fine-looking, dark- 
complexioned man of thirty-seven, of unblemished character, excellent 
parts, and a fluent talker. His residence was in Tappan on the Hudson, in 
the vicinity of which he was popular and influential, and constantly con- 
triving measures to circumvent the Tories. In addition to his legislative 
duties he was actively employed in the purchase and manufacture of salt- 
petre, and in collecting lead. In cou.sidtation with Henry Wisner* months 
prior to this date, the subject of the practical alleviation of the most 

' Kcw York Daily Gazctir, Monday, Jan. 5, 1789. 

2 See p. 20, note (Vol. 11.). 

' The next day after the battle of Long Island he was surpiised by a party of Light 
under Oliver De Lancey, Jr., near Jamaica, and .seiioii.sly injured after the suri'ender of his 
sword, the wounds cau.sing lu.s death, September 20, 1776. 

* Henry "Wisner was born in 1720 ; his father was Hendrick Wisner, and his mother a New 
England woman. His gi-andfathcr, Johannes Wisner, was born in .Switzerland, fouglit undi'r 
Louis XIV. in the allied army of tlie Prinee of Orange, and nnder the Duke of Marlborougli ; 
he emigrated to New York in the early part of the eighteenth century. Henry Wisner's resi- 
dence was about a mile south of the village of Go.shen ; lie was a justice of the peace, owned 
considerable land thereabouts, and a few slaves. His wife was Sarah Norton. His [lublic 
services began in the New York Assemlily in 1759, wliich position he held for ten years. — 
Memorial of Henry Wisner, by Franklin Burdge. 


distressing need of the Colonies, war materials, assumed tangil)le form. 
Wisner erected three powder-mills, one in Ulster County, placed in churL;e 
of his sou Henry, and two in Orange County, and desjiite innumei'alile 
obstacles, and the risks of being blown into the air througli early crude 
processes of manufactuie, as well as the threatened torch of the Tm-ies, 
he succeeded in providing the essential, gunjxjwdcr, in (piantitics largely 
exceeding the whole product of American enterimse in this line of all 
the other Colonies combined. He was wannly encouraged iu the work 
by the N"ew York Congress, and through his energetic proceedings in the 
making of, not only powder, but spears, guuHints, and better roads for 
the transportation of necessaries to the American army, he was roundly 
abused and called an " Old Tyrant " by the Tory newspajaers. Wisner 
was in attendance at the Continental Congress and voted with that body 
for American Independence. 

In ]\Iarcli a Itoyish-looking youngster of twenty, of small stature and 
self-confident bearing, hail obtained through ]\IcDougall an appointment 
from the New York Congress as captain of a company of artillery. He 
had recently, in Columljia College, formed an amateur corps among his 
fellow-students for the culture nf p\'rotechnics and gunnery ; and had for 
months l)een engaged in military gymnastics, and the study of ancient 
works relating to politics and war. One liright June morning, while drill- 
ing his men in a field on the outskirts of the city (now City Hall Pai'k), 
he attracted the notice of General Nathaniel Greene, who, quick to <letect 
any gleam of military art, invited him to his quarters, catechised him as 
to his education and opportunities, and introduced him to Wa.shington. 
The youth thus brought under the special notice of the commander-in- 
chief was Alexander Hamilton. 

The month of June was one of perpetual excitement in New York. It 
was rumored that the Tories were Iianding together for co-operation with 
the British army upon its arrival, intending to blow up the magazines, 
.spike the guns, and seize and ma.ssacre Washington and his officer.s. Con- 
gress and its " Connnittee on Conspiracy " knew no rest. The facts de- 
veloped that jjersons had secretly been enlisted and sworn to hostile acts. 
The lower order of liquor dealers were in numerous instances imjilicated 
and incarcerated, as well as multitudes of their customers. The jirivate 
administration of justice ke]it the city in connnotion and the members of 
Contrress on tlie alert to prevent riots and disturbances therefrom. 
Peter Eltiug wrote t(j Captain Piicbard Varick, June Vi : " Wc luul 
some grand Tory rides in this city this week, and one in jiarticular yester- 
day ; sev(;ral of them [the Tories] were handled \-ery roughly. Vicing carried 
through the streets on rails, their clothes torn from their backs, and their 


bodies pretty well mingled with dust." ^ Under the date to which lefer- • 
ence is made (June 12), the following minutes were entered upon the 
journals of the New York Congress : — 

" Resolved, Tliat this Congress by no means approve of the riots that have lia])- 
peucJ tliis day ; they flatter themselves, however, that they have proceeded from 
a real regard to liberty and a detestation of tliose persons who, by their language 
and conduct, have discovered themselves to be inimical to the cause of America. 
To urge the warm friends of liberty to decency and good order, this Congress 
assures the public that effectual measures will be taken to secure the enemies of 
American liberty in this colony ; and do require the good people of this city and 
colony to desist from all riots, and leave the ofi'enders against so good a cause to 
be dealt with by the constitutional representatives of the colony." 

It was shortly discovered beyond further question that Tryon, from his 

safe retreat on shipboard, w'as working through agents on shore. Suspicion 

iell upon the mayor, David Matthews, and he was accordingly seized at 

his residence in Flatbush, Long Island, by order of Washington, 

June 22. ' o 'J o ' 

at one o'clock on the morning of June 22, but the most vigilant 
search failed to discover treasonable papers in his possession ; and nothing 
was subsequently proved against him except that he had disbursed money 
for Tryon, who had offered a bounty to all wdio would engage in the con- 
spiracy.^ James Matthews, the brother of the mayor, residing at Corn- 
wall, Orange County, was also seized in the same manner, but he was 
willing to take the oath prescribed, and gave bonds to Haring, president 
of Congi-ess 2:>ro tern, to the amount of five hundred pounds sterling, to 
keep the peace, and was consequently released. 

On the same evening of Mayor Matthews' arrest, the Committee met 

' " Tliere has lately been a good deal of attention paid the Tories in this city. Some of the 
worst have been carried through the streets at noonday on rails." — Solmnmi Drowne, M. D., 
to Solomon Droume, Senr., June 17, 1776. A''ew York in t?ic Revolution, 97. 

" I have been cruelly rode on rails, a practice most painful, dangerous, and till now peculiar 
to the humane republicans of New England." — Letter from Staten Island, August 17, 1776. 

- Mayor Matthews was imprisoned for a few days in New York, and then conveyed to 
Litihtield, Connecticut, and consigned to the care of Major Moses Seymour, a relative of his 
wife, Sarah Seymour Matthews. He was confined in the Seymour house, but was allowed the 
privilege of the village. One day, while taking his customary walk, he omitted to return, 
and, making his way to New York as best he could, placed himself under the protection of 
the British flag. Fletcher Matthews, a brother of David and James Matthews, had married 
into the Woodhull family, and resided in New York City. The three brothers were the sons 
of Vincent .Matthews and Catalina Abeel (daughter of Mayor Abeel of Albany), and the grand- 
sons of Colonel Peter Matthews, who came to this country as an officer under Governor 
Fletcher, in 16it-2. Tliey had one sister, who married Theophilus Beekman. James Matthews 
married Hannah Strong, and they were the parents of General Vincent Matthews, who died 
at Rochester in 1846, at the head of the bar in Western New York. 

THE coys PI RACY. 79 

at Scots Tavern in Wall Street to examine ex-ilayor Whitehead Hicks, 
who had been summoned before them. They desired him to show cause 
wiiy he should be considered a friend to America. He said he had shown 
nothing by his conduct which could be interpreted as against his country ; 
that he hatl for many years held honorable and lucrative Crown ottlces, 
unsolicited, and that he had repeatedly sworn allegiance to the Crown. 
For that reason he was not willing to take up arms for America. And 
as his father and brothers and some of his near relations were strongly 
attached to or absolutely engaged in the Colonial cause, he should never 
take up arms against America. He said one of his servants had joined 
the Continental troops as a volunteer without the interference on his 
part. He was asked by the chairman whether in his opinion the British 
Parliament had a right to tax America, and rejjlied that he shoiUd be very 
unwilling to be taxed by the British Parliament. He was asked whether 
he thought defense by arms justifiable, and said such a course should, in 
his view of the case, be the last resort, and he had not fully examined or 
considered whether e\'ery other necessary expedient had been previously 
used. After a series of similar questions and answers, it was unanimously 
resolved to accept his parole, and a copy was given him to sign, which he 
begged leave to consider for a day or two, as he feared it might interfere 
with his oath of office as a judge, but declared he had no other objectiim 
to it. He was allowed to take it away with him, but he returned it with 
his signature. 

Several others were examined on the same occasion \vith less agi'eeable 
results. The Committee continued their investigations far into the night. 
Mayor ^latthews was arraigned before them on the 23d, and Counselor 
William Axtell on the 24th, who was, however, released on parole, as was 
also Dr. Samuel ilartin. John Willett, of Jamaica, was compelled to give 
a bond of two thousand pounds sterling as a pledge of good behavior. 
On the 25th a warrant was issued under the signatures of John Jay and 
Gouverneur Morris, and jJaced in llie Ijauds of Wynant Van Zandt, a lieu- 
tenant in Colonel Lasher's battalion, fur the apprehension of Xicholas 
Connery, the keeper of an inn, who had been detected in selling gun- 
powder to the consjjirators. By the 27th the plot was so far trace<l that 
Thomas Hickey, one of Washiugton's body-guard, an Irishman who had 
been a deserter from the British army, was known to have enlisted for 
the king, and to have used great exertions towards corrupting his com- 
rades. He was tried by a court-martial, found guilty of mutiny, sedition, 
and treachery, and at ten o'clock, on the morning of the 2Sth, hanged in a 
held near the Bowery, in the presence of at least twenty thousand jjersons. 
This was the Hrst military execution of the Pevolution. 


Its effects were salutaiy, but the arduous duties of the Committee were 
])}• no means ended. The prisons were full of persons awaiting trial, while 
petitions for clemency or release poured in from every quarter in one con- 
tinuous stream. Sir William Howe was already at Sandy Hook, having 
airived on the 25th : and he was joined by the whole British fleet 

June 28. ^ J j . 

and forces from Halifax on the 28th. Philip Livingston, on the 
morning of the same memorable day, reached the Continental Congress at 
Philadelphia, and taking liis .seat again in that body, e.xplained the peculiar 
and imperative necessity for his colleagues to remain at their posts in Xew 
York while the city was in such peril ; immediately following which the 
draft of the Ueclaration of Independence was first sul)niitted by Jefferson. 

William Livingston had been in December appointed a brigadier-gen- 
eral over the militia of Xew Jersey, and on the 5th of June, while acting 
upon a committee of the Continental Congress, of which he was an impor- 
tant member, for the establishment of expresses to transmit intelligence 
between the Colonies with more celerity, events had hurried him to 
Elizabeth to assume command. At this juncture he was alive with 
liouuding energy in the raising of troops for the defense of the exposed 
borders of both New York and New Jersey. He was in daily com- 
munication with his son-in-law, John Jav, and cognizant of all the meas- 
lU'es and movements of the Xew York Congress and " Committee on 
Conspiracy." New Jersey rejoiced in a new Congress fresh from the 
people with ample powers for deciding her course — a Congress which or- 
ganized it.self June 11, and was opened with prayer by the great theologii- 
cal politician, Eev. Dr. John Witherspoon, President of Princeton College.^ 
On the 22d a resolution had been adopted to form a state government ; 
two days later a committee was appointed to draft a constitution, which 
was reported on the 26th, and confirmed July 2. William Livingston was 
the first choice for a governor of the new State, and, as the reader will 
learn in future pages, was soon transferred to the executive cliair. 

His residence in Elizabeth, familiarly known as " Liberty Hall," ^ was 
the scene henceforward of many startling and romantic incidents. It was 
a shining mark for the enemy, for no bolder or more aggravating patriot 
wielded pen or power than its owner, who was styled an " arch-fiend " ; 
and it was pointed out to the belligerent foe from over the water as the 
resort of the " formidable " John Jay, whose beautiful young wife spent 
nnich time with her motlier and sisters within its walls. It was here 
that Jay's afterwards distinguished son, Peter Augustus Jay, was bovu, in 
January, 1776. The wonder is, not that the British sought the destruc- 

1 See A'ol. I., 752, note. 
- See Vol. I. 758. 



tiou of the (hvidliun, but that it escaped their iliwigns unharmed. "If the 
British do not burn ' Liljertv Hall,' I shall think them greater rascals than 
ever, for I have really endeav(jred to deserve this last and most luminous 
testimony of their inveterate malice," wrote Livingston to his daughter 
Kitty. The original .structure, with its spacious apartments, bigh ceilings, 
and narrow doors, remains intact to the present day. The upi)er story of 
the sketch has Ijeen added, as well as extensions to the rear of the edifice 


Liberty Hall." 

Rebidcni-t.- fit" i..fiierni>r \\ liiiam i.ivm^piton. 

to meet the requirements of later oceujiants ; modern glass has taken the 
place of small ]ianes in many of the windows ; and the dee]) tire]ilaces are 
framed with marble mantels of a recent generation ; but the iunumei-able 
little cupboards and artful contrivances in the jianeling of the walls are 
still cherished, the old staircase ]iroudly liears the cuts left liy the an.gry 
Hessian .soldiery when thwarted on one occasion in the oViject of their 
visit, and the flavor and sacredness of antiquity generally is preserved. 
The house stands on elevated ground some rods from the street ftlie old 
Springfield turnpike), and retains its ancient body-guard of lofty shade- 
trees. The larger tree in the foreground of the picture was ])lanted by 
Miss Susan Livingston, the elder daughter of the Governor, in 1772. Mrs. 


Livingston was a handsome, animated woman, possessing many of the 
strong characteristics of her notable ancestors, Philip French, Lieutenant- 
Governor Brockholls, and Frederick Phillips. She took a deep interest in 
the country's affairs, ably seconding her husband's scoffing ridicule of kingly 
threats ; and their daughters liecanie full-tiedged politicians long ere they 
had attained complete physical stature. The knotty problems of the hour, 
and the methods and details of solving and .settling them, were discussed 
daily at their table. Even in the most familiar correspondence with his 
children at school the subject uppermost in Livingston's thoughts occu- 
pied the chief space. As, for instance, in a letter to one of his boys who 
had written home of something which appeared in his lessons about ghosts, 
he said : " Should the spectre of any of the Stuart family, or of any tyrant 
whatsoever, obtrude itself upon your fancy, offer it not so much as a pipe 
of tobacco ; but show its royal or imperial spectrality the door, with a 
Irank declaration that your principles will not suffer you to keep company 
even with the SHADOW of arbitrary power." It was in this republican 
family that Alexander Hamilton made his first acquaintances iipon arriv- 
ing in America in 1772, a pale, delicate, l;)lue-eyed boy of fifteen year.s, from 
the West Indies ; he brought letters to Livingston from Dr. Hugh Knox, a 
clergyman who had become interested in his welfare in Santa Cruz, where 
he had been placed in the counting-house of Nicholas Cruger (formerly 
of New York) by his father some three years before. Through Living- 
ston's advice he entered the school of Francis Barber in Elizabeth, but 
" Lilierty Hall " was always open to him, and it was in listening to the 
table-talk of its guests, among whom were the Ogdens, Stocktons, Boudi- 
nots, and the learned Dr. Witherspoou, that he obtained his first lessons 
in statesmanship.^ When his school year was ended he applied for ad- 
mission to Princeton, luit he desired to overleap certain details in the 
college course which Dr. Witherspoon esteemed incompatible with the 
usages of the institution, and he was admitted to Columliia instead. 

Thus must we penetrate occasionally beneath the surface of historical 
narrative into the privacy of domestic life and liehind the scenery of 
events, if we would trace springs of action to their source and analyze 
the separate parts of the great tide, which, swelling with its tributaries 
at e\-ery turn, was soon to overleap all barriers in its flow into the sea of 
sulistantial achievement. 

1 Many of the youth wl\o were to Irecome emplialically the men of the new f;eueration were 
in the classes of tlie Rev. Dr. Witherspoon at Princeton ; among whom were .Tames Madison, 
Aaron BniT, Samuel Stanhope Smith, the future aeeomplished divine, Philip Freneau, the 
verse-maker of the Revolution, Hugh Henry Breckinridge, the author of "Modern Chivalry," 
and four future governors of States, — John Henry of Maryland, Morgan Lewis of New York, 
Aaron Ogden of New Jersev, and Henry Lee of Virginia. 


ruder the hot June skies of 1776, in towu and country, in the forum 
and in tlie farm-yard, in congressional halls and in rural town-meetings, in 
newspapers, pamphlets, and in conferences of committees, in the pulpit, 
and in social gatherings, the question which was to decide the chief event 
in modern history was the all-absorljing topic. On one point all were 
agreed, — independence could only be obtained at enormous expense of 
life. The new political creed of the sovereignty of the people was the 
most heterodo.\ of theories to tiie English mind ; the erection of an inde- 
pendent empire on this Continent a problem of far greater magnitude than 
any which had affrighted former legislators. Nothing is more remark- 
able at this juncture than the superiority in argument which the legal 
debaters in America displayed over their contemporaries in England 
whenever they touched upon the professional points of the controversy. 
The lawyers .shared with the clergy the intellectual intiuence of the time ; 
they were generally well-read and accomplished men, and not infrequently 
men of letters. All their addresses to the powers beyond the seas reflected 
a dei)th of thought and a wide acquaintance with the principles of com- 
mon and international law which astonished acute observers. John 
Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and a score of others who had 
been educated in the strictest notions nf rank and ca.ste, were trained 
juri.sts, with clear conceptiims of the rights of mankind, and ready for the 
tremendous stride in human progi-ess which was to terminate artificial dis- 
tinction and .secure freedom and self-ciuitrul for a nation ; the Clintons, 
Morrises, Livingstons, Schuyler, Joim Jay, James Duane, and their asso- 
ciates of New York, reasoned with singular calmness and force, standing 
like a liulwark of iiidrpcndence between the contlicting political theories 
of Enghuul and America, fully prepared to dispense with the customs of 
centuries, aljandon entails, break down the Colonial aristocracy of which 
they were a part, and create a repuljlic in which tlie ])eople should be the 
only rulers. Their wisdom exceeded the wisdom of Cromwell and his 
adherents, for the monarchical jirinciple was ostracized. Tlieir conceptions, 
drawn from the only free and republican govermnent then existing, were 
so much broader than the si^urce from which they sprung that no rules of 
action could be borrowed. Their understanding of the P^nglish law in- 
spired them with b(jth caution and confidence. .Tames Duane, in Con- 
gress at Philadelphia, pledged New York to independence, at the same 
time declaring that he could not legally vote on the question uidess em- 
powered l)y further instructions from Ids constituents. William Floyd 
said he had no hopje of iica<-e through the commissioners en roiiU: for 
America, and believed the only solid foundation for government was in 
the consent of the people. Itobert R. Livingston ^afterwards Chancellor) 


[iDiuted out in clear, elegant diction the error of attempting to form 
alliances with foreign nations at peace, while in such a disjointed condi- 
tion. John Jay, summoned from the higher Congress to the legislative 
councils of New York, advocated implicit obedience to the popular will. 
With rare legal acumen he pointed out the breakers ahead should the 
reijresentatives by their acts exceed the authority in them vested, and 
promptly suggested close investigation ; hence a committee was ajipointed 
for the purpose, who, after earnest consideration, reported a serious existing 
" doubt " concerning the power conferred ujion tliis Congress in tlie late 
election as to the matter of a total dissolution of all connectiim with 
Great Britain, and siilemnly recommended a formal vote of the whole 
Colony. The Xew York Congress, tliereibre, in accordance with a motion 
made by John Jay (June 11), called ibr a new election of deputies who 
should be invested with full powers for administering the government, 
framing a constitution for New York, and determining ibr lier the impor- 
tant question of the hour. 

There is no more strikingly beautiful feature in the history of New 
York than her honorable attitude at this moment toward her own intelli- 
gent and liberty-loving population, and toward the country of wliieli she 
was the great cardinal factor. With menacing horrors on evevy hand, 
Canada teeming with military pre])arations, savages aroused thmugh all 
her wilderness I'rontiers, and the chief naval power of the world in posses- 
sion of her harbor, threatening her entire commerce and chief city witii 
ruin and desolation, and with tlie pressure of unmerited accusations of cow- 
ardice and Toryism from her neighbors added to the perpetual clamor for 
stringent measures by the improvident and reckless within her own lior- 
ders, she tested the public mind, giving iree scope to the expression of the 
latest wishes of her inhalutants, and awaited the result. The election, 
turning on the pivot of independency, occurred June 19 ; nearly all of 
the former members were returned, specially charged to vote for an abso- 
lute separation from the Crown ; but this decision could not be formally 
announced until the organization of the new Congress. Therefore, on the 
first day of Jidy, when the illustrious fifty-one doubtful and divided 
men a.s.sembled in Carpenter's Hall, Philadelphia, to consider the " reso- 
lution respecting independency," although e\-ery Colmiy was represented, 
the delegates from New York had not yet recei^■ed full power, and were 
excused from action. 

Meanwhile men grew fierce and uncumiinimising, and were restrained 
with ilifficulty from the connnittal of overt crimes. Tlie old feuil between 
the Presbyterians and Episcopalians was lighted afresh and cau.sed many 
incidents of a riotous character. Piev. Dr. Auchmuty, the rector of Trinity 


Cliun-li, was an invalid, and liad Veninved tor the summer io New Brunswici<, 
New Jersey. The cure of llie parish in liis absence devolved uijou the 
oldest assistant, Kev. Charles Iii.nlis, whcj was forbidden by the citizens to 
prav tor the king and royal t'aiiiily ; then he was accosteil and insulted 
wherever he went in the streets ; and tinally his lil'e was threatened it' he 
did not desist from using the liturgy according to the text. To otticiate 
publicly and abstain from the mention of England's umuarch in his sup- 
[)lications M^as to violate liis oath and the dictates of his conscience. His 
embarrassment was very great. One Sunday morning a company of (juc 
hundred and fifty men marched into the church with drums beating and 
pipes playing, and bayonets glistening in their loaded guns. The audience 
were terror-stricken, and several women fainted. It was supposed tlial 
if Mr. Inglis should read the collects for the king and royal family he 
would lie shot in the sacred desk. lUit he went on lioldly to the end, 
omitting no portion of the service, and although there was restless and 
hostile demonstration, he escaped injury. The vestry interfered, and 
compromi.sed the matter by agreeing to close the Episcopal churches tor 
the present; and they were not opened again for jiublic worsiuii until the 
city was occupied fiy the British. 

The lines of demarcation lietwecn friend and foe were daily becoming 
more distinctly drawn, and people were comixdled to show their colors. 
Neutrality cuuld not be tolerated. Men who withheld their aid and 
countenance were treated as enemies. Loyalists were jironounced traitors, 
and pursued with merciless rancor. In reference to these it seemed as 
if the most ordinary feelings of compassion were for the time suspended. 
It was unsafe to breathe a syllable against the American cause. Men 
secreted in the woods, swamps, and other hiding-places, witli designs of 
joining the British as soon as they should land, were Ininted like wild 

An incident illustrating the spirit of the times is toll of Kieliard Van 
Wyck, one of the judges of Dutchess County. A young farmer was 
dragged before him one morning charged with assault and batterv ; the 
cause of the assault shown on trial was the crying of " (rod .save the 
king" liy the person assaulted. The judge said to the accuseil, " You have 
violated the law, and it is my duty, as a magistrate, to fine you, and the 
sum shall be one penny." Then, putting his hand in his pocket, con- 
tinued, " I will pay the fine ; and the ne.xt time that man cries " God save 
the king," you give him a good thrashing and I will ]iay you for doing 

' <'iiniL-lius Bai-ciits Van W\vk came tu Ameiiia in IGlJil fruiii Wyik, a town on tlic livi'r 
Teck, in Ilollanil. He settleil iiea'' Flatbuali, Lull'' Island, and married .\inia, daut;liter of 

86 HlSrOHY OF rilE city of new YORK. 

Cornelius Van Wyck, the father of Judge Richard, was an efficient 
member of the New York Congress. He was a warm friend of Eev. 
Abraham Keteltas, in direct reference to whom he seconded the motion 
of John Jay that the clergymen members of the House be at liberty to 
attend at their personal convenience, their absence being esteemed no 
neglect of duty. Cornelius Van Wyck resided in the house near Fishkill, 
made famous by Cooper as the " Wharton House " of the Spy, which is 
at present in an excellent state of preservation. Dr. Theodorus, the elder 
brother of Cornelius, a man of sterling qualities, was also one of the mem- 
bers of this Revolutionary Congress, and his son Theodorus, afterwards a 
resident of the metropolis, served witli great bravery in the Revolutionary 

New Yiirk was one of the busiest spots on the western continent just 
now. Men were working night and day on the fortifications. Troops 
were coming in from all quarters of the compass, in the most jjicturesque 
and greatest variety of costumes, uniforms being as yet in the transition 
state. The old red coats used in the French wars had been brought 
from the garrets and turned to account in Connecticut ; therefore, in 
juxtaposition with the tow frocks of home manufacture worn by her vol- 
unteers, appeared every now and then a dingy regimental of scarlet with 
a triangular, tarnished laced hat. Some of the Marylanders wore green 
hunting-shirts with leggins to match. Troops fron) Delaware came in 
dark blue coats witli red iacings. Some of the New Jersey riflemen were 
in short red coats and stri])ed trousers, others in short blue coats, old 
leather lireeches, light blue stockings, shoes with brass buckles, and wool 
hats bound with yellow. The Penn.sylvania regiments were in all the 
colors of the rainbow, brown coats faced with buff, blue coats faced with 
red, brown coats faced with white and studded with great pewter buttons, 
buckskin breeches, and black cocked hats with white tape bindings, also 
blue coats faced with white; while several companies came without any 
coats at all, each man with but a single shirt, and that so small that the 
New-Englanders ridiculed them as " shoddy shirts." The Virginians A\'ere 
in white smock-frocks furbelowed with ruffles at the neck, elbows, and 
wrists, black stocks, hair in cues, and round-topped, broad-brimmed black 

Dominie Johannes Theodoras Polhemus of Brooklyn. (See Vol. 1.175.) Their sons, Theo- 
doras (born 1668, man-ied Margarita, daughter of Abraham Brinckerlioff) and Cornelius, 
removed in 1733 to Dutchess County, the latter building the Van Wyck mansion (" Wharton 
House ") in 1739, now occupied by his great-grandson, Mr. Sidney E. Van Wyck. Many of 
the Van Wyck descendants have been professional men and public charactei's. Several of 
tile name have occupied seats in the Legislature of New York since the Revolution, and 
two have served tlieir districts in Congress. Several of the family have been at one time 
and another aldermen of the city, and one, Pierre Van Cortlandt Van Wvck, was Recorder in 
1806, 1808, 1S09, 1811, iiud 1812. 

.sHoiry FASH lays of the times. 



hats, — although a little later the Light Dragoons were uuilbrmed in lilue 
coats faced with reel or brown coats faced with green. Washington's 
guards wore blue coats faced with Imfl', red waistcoats, buckskin breeches, 
black felt hats bound with white tape, and bayonet and body belts of 
white. Hunting-shirts — " the mortal aversion of the red-coat " — with 
breeches of same cloth gaiter fa.shion about the legs, M'ere seen on every 
side, and being convenient garments for a campaigning country were soon 
atlopted l.iy the British themselves. This was the origin of the modern 
trouser, or jjantaloon. 

The picture of the variegated throng of soldiery surging intd the streets 
of Xew York for its defense will be less grotesque to the reader if viewed 
in connection with one passing and final ghmpse of the old capital under 
kingly ride and silver shoe-buckles. Show and glitter marked the dis- 
tinctions in society. Dress was one of the signs and symbols of a gentle- 
man ; classical lore and ruffled shirts were inseparable. It was the habit of 
the community to take off its hat to the gentry; and there was no mistaking 
them wherever they moved. Servants were always in livery, which in 
many instances was gorgeous in the extreme. Gentlemen appeared in the 
streets in velvet or satin coats, with white 
embroidered vests of rare beauty, small- 
clothes and gorgeously resplendent buckles, 
their heads crowned with piowdered wigs and 
cocked hats. A lady's toilet was equally 
astounding : the court hoop was in vogue, 
brocaded silksof brilliant colors, and a moun- 
tain of powdered hair surmounted with flow- 
ers or feathers ; although it is a fact worthy 
of remembrance that servants were servants 
in those days, and never assumed to copy or 
excel their mistresses in the style and costli- 
ness of their attire. The democratic hammer 
already suspended over the doomed city was 
to subdue the taste and change the whole 
aspect of the empire of fashion. 

Jealousies arose between the troops of the 
different Colonies, as might have been fore- 
seen. One evil was so serious that the Xew 
York Congress sent Gouverneur Morris to Philadelphia for its abatement. 
The Xew England troops were receiving higher wages than those of Xew 
York and the iliddle Colonies, which coidd not be tolerated ; the result 
of the mission was satisfactory. Congress, after much discussion, concluding 

Head of a Lady of Fashion in J776. 



to raise the pay of the whole army to one general level. About the middle 
of June the New York Congress ordered the jjublic records of the Colony 
removed to Kingston. Samuel Bayard, Jr., was the Koyal Secretary of the 
Province ; his office had formerly been at the right of the fort gate, luit 
early in the spring tlie books and papers in his custody had been ti'ansi'erred 
to the house of liis brother, Nicholas Bayard, near the present corner of 
Grand Street and Broadway, whose wife was Catherine, daughter of Peter 
Van Brugh Livingston, the Treasurer of Congress, where indeed Samuel 
Bayard himself had been detained a prisoner up to this time.^ He was 
ordered and requested to go to Kingston and remain with the records, ex- 
ercising the duties of his office (under a strong guard) until further notice. 
Robert Benson, the Secretary of Congress, was directed to assist and attend 

1 The Bayards were of the ancient aristocracy of New York (see Vol. I. 128, 244, 342), and 
men of wealth and culture. They were descended from Samuel Bayard, and Anne, the stately 
sister of Governor Stuyvesant. The latter, a widow, brought three sons to America in 1647, 
Baltiiazai:,, and Petrus. Samuel, aliore mentioned, was the great-graiid.son of 
XlcHni..vs, and grandson of the Samuel who married Margaret Van Cortlandt in 1701 (see 
Vol. I. 451) ; he at a later date entered the king's service, and in 1778 married Catharine Van 
Home. William Bayard, who was at the head of a mercantile house and resided at this time 
on a fine estate adjoining the villa of Oliver De Lancey on the Hudson near Thirty-fourth Street, 
was the great-grandson of Balthazau. He sympathized with the Whigs in the early part of 
the controversy, gave dinner-parties whicli were attended by Jay, Morris, and others, enter- 
tained .Tosinh Quincy when he passed through New York on his way home from the South, and 
was geneially regarded as a patriot ; but he suhserjuently took the oath of loyalty to the king, 
went to England, and his property was confiscated. John Bayard, of the Pennsylvania Com- 
mittee of Safety and afterwards colonel in the army, was the great-grandson of Petrus, whose 
descendants settled in the Middle Colonies, and have in the course of two centuries inter- 
married with the Washingtons of Virginia, the C'arrolls of Marylan<l, the Stocktons, Kirk- 
patricks, and Kembles of New Jersey, the Bowdoins and AVinthrops of Ma.ssachusetts, the De 
Lanceys, Jays, Livingstons, Pintards, Schuylers, Stuyvesants, A'erplancks, and Van Kens- 
selaers of New York, and other notable American families. Colonel John Bayard removed 
from Philadelphia to New Brunswick after the war, where he was 
a presiding judge, a trustee of Hutgers College, and in 1790 was 
elci'ted mayor of that city. His son, James Ashton Bayard, mar- 
ried Eliza, daughter of Rev. Dr. John Eodgers, of the Biick 
Church, New York ; Samuel married Martha, claughter of Lewis 
Pintard and Sarah Stockton (sister of Richard Stockton, the 
signer); he was sent to England by Washington to prosecute some 
im]iortant legal claims, and al'terwanls filled several oHices of 
trust ; Jane married Chief Justice Kirkpatrick of New Jersey ; 
Margaret married Samuel Harrison Smith, editor of the Natimial 
Intelligencer in Washington. .'\n interesting relic of Petrus 
Bayard is a large and heavy folio Bible printed at Doi-drecht in 
1690, illustrated with curious nuips and engravings, with family 
Bayard Arms. record written in Dutch ; it is in the possession of Mrs. Genei-al 

James Grant Wilson of New York, one of the descendants. Four of the Bayards have occu- 
]iied seats in our national Senate during the present century, of whom is Hon. Thomas F. 
Bayard, present United States Senator from Delaware. 


Bayard in the removal of the records, and James Beekman was directed 
to provide a sloop and accouipaiiy him on the passage to Fishkill, while 
Dirck Wyucoop, Colonel Abraham Hasbrouck, Joseph Gasherie, and 
Christopher Tappan were delegated witli authority to provide accommoda- 
tions for the records and the Secretary in Fishkill, also proper guards and 
other securities. With less ceremony and greater secrecy, the Treasurer 
and Secretary of (Jongress, Peter Van Brugh Livingston and liobert Benson, 
conveved its money and papers on Saturday, June 3U, to White 
Plains, where it was thought Ijest for Congress to meet on Monday, 
July 2. On the same Saturday, Colonel Joseph ilarsli was sent to (Governor 
Nicholas Cooke of Rhode Island for powder in his custody belonging to 
New York. Jacobus Van Zandt wits chairman of a committee entrusted 
with the delicate and dangerous task of bringing vessels and cargoes which 
liad been seized from the enemy from their anchorage in Fire Island Inlet 
to the city, and selling them for the public interest. He was also, with 
Comfort Sands and Evert Bancker, an auditing committee required to make 
correct statement to Congress of all the cargoes of vessels in the port, and 
of the amount of lead and po\\'der in charge of the custodians, Richard 
Norwood and Colonel Peter Curtenius, which they hurriedly removed in 
the night from a store near the Battery to a cellar on Murray Hill. 
Another committee, acting with the soldiery, transferred the cattle on the 
Long Island and Jersey shores beyond the immediate reach of the enemy. 
Colonel John P.roome and Colonel Robert Van Ren.sselaer consigned sev- 
eral jirisoners to the committee of Kingston, with directions to procure 
good lodgings and board for them at their own (the prisoners), see 
that they carry on no correspondence or give no intelligence whatever to 
their friends, and treat them with humanity. These were chiefly British 
officers and their families and servants captured on transports from 

Washington was in almost hourly con.sultation with the leading mem- 
bers of the New York Congress, several of whom were already in the mili- 
tary service. General Alexander McDougall was exerting every nerve to 
prepare his battalion of New York men for efficient work. General John 
Morin Scott commanded the battalions which represented the city distinc- 
tively ; 1 the oldest of these, under the immediate command of Colonel 

1 .lolia Moriu Scott was liurn in X.-w Vmk in ]730, died 17S4. He was the only cliild of 
.lohu .Scott and Marian Jlorin, and I'onrtli in the line of descent from Sir John Scott, Baronet 
of Ancram, County lioxbury, Scotlanil, wlio died in 1712. He was a graduate of Yalo, and be- 
came one of the most successful lawyers at tlic har of New York". In connection with William 
Livingston and William Smith he early liecame identified with the Whig clement of the 
Colony and a leader in politics. He contributed to the Independent. Heflector and other papers, 
and was the antbnr of several oftirial and literary ])apers and reports. From 1757 to 1762 he 


John Lasher, a man of property and influence, was composed of young 
men of high position, its captains being John J. Eoosevelt, Henry G. 
Livingston, John Berrian, Abraham Van Wyck, William A. Gilbert, Abra- 
ham P. Liitt, Samuel Tudor, William Leonard, James Alner, and James 
Abeel. Andrew Stockholm, llobert Smith, Isaac Stoutenburg, and '\\'illiam 
JMalcolm were also efficient officers under Scott ; Colonel Samuel Drake 
of Westchester, and Colonel Cornelius Humphrey of Dutchess County, each 
commanded one of Scott's regiments. All officers and men not on actual 
duty were drilling and flying to their alarm-posts in order to become 
throughly acquainted with the grounds, and all fatigue parties were di- 
rected to hold themselves ready for instant action. 

It was in vain to speculate concerning the point most likely to be first 
attacked by the British. The redoubts and breastworks along the shore 
of the East Eiver were in a certain sense formidable, but the enemy might 
effect landings in any number of places elsewhere. The Hudson Iliver 
was open to them, or they could cross from Staten Island into New Jersey, 
and thence nearly surround the city. No satisfactory judgment could be 
formed of their intentions. 

Meanwhile the scene was like one vast beehive. Soldiers and civilians 
ran hither and thither, every man in the pertbrmance of some exacting 
duty. Aside from the numerous fortifications and batteries in and around 
New York, on Governor's Island, and on Long Island,barricades were thrown 
up on every street leading to the water, chiefly of mahogany logs taken from 
West India cargoes. City Hall Park was almost entirely inclosed; Broad- 
way was obstructed in front of St. Paul's Chapel ; another barrier rose at 
the head of Vesey Street, one at the head of Barclay, and one at the head 
of Murray Street. A curiously constructed barricade stretched across 
Beekman Street at the Brick Church, and another was piled up in the 
form of a right angle near where the Tribune building now stands. There 
was a bulwark at the entrance to Centre Street, another crossed Frankfort 
Street, and still another near it faced Chatham Street. Thus, when the 
British should gain a footing in the city, they would still have to contest 
every inch of progress. A queer little fleet, commanded liy Benjamin 
Tupper, scoured the waters along the New Jersey and Long Island coasts 
to prevent communication between the Tories and the enemy's ships. It 
was made up of schooners, sloops, row-galleys, and whale-boats, and, 
keeping a perpetual lookout, was no insignificant element of defense. 

was an alderman of the Out Ward ; and he associated himself with many iniblic enterprises 
for the social advancement of the city. His residence was about the comer of Thirty -third 
Street and Ninth Avenue, with over one hundred and twenty-three well-cultivated acres of 
land. In 1777 he was appointed Secretary of the State, and served also as State Senator until 
his death. His remains rest in Trinity churchyard. 


On the Jersey sliDre tlie veterau wai-rior, Hunii Mercer, ciiiiunaudiu"- the 
Flying Camp stationed at Amlmy, and William Livingstuu, at the Lead 
of the Jersey militia, M^atched the movements (jf the enemy as they pro- 
ceeded to encamp on Staten Island, and jirevented all foraging incur- 
sions into the Jerseys. 

Such w;is Xew York's condition on the sultry ilonday, July 2, when, 
in tiie language of John jVtlanis, " the greatest question ever 
debated in America, and as great as ever was or ever will be de- 
bated among men," was agitating the mind of Congress at Philadelphia 
to such intensity of enthusiasm that the members lost all sense of the 
appalling dangers v.-hich threatened their entire seacoast and chief city. 
The push of a century was behind them. The daring men whose names 
were to make the age illustrious were alive in every fibre. The incom- 
parable force of conflicting opinions developed hidden mental strength, 
and gave expression to impalpable influences of which the air was full. 
The immortal state paper, the confession of faith of a rising empire, 
seemed charged with electricity, and the heart of Congress warmed and 
beat more swiftly as the conviction deepened that in its adoption a bill 
of rights would be passed for humanity at large, and for all coming gen- 
erations without any exception whatever. The discussion was conducted 
with closed doors, and ere nightfall a vote had been taken which was 
to conimaud the admiration of the world. The following day was occu- 
pied in closely scanning the language and principles of the docu- 
ment as submitted by Jefferson. On the evening of July 4 it 
was formally adopted and entered on the journal of Congress. 

Thus was the transition from vassalage to independence accomplished 
in the midst of the most serious alarms. Thus a republic was inaugurated. 
Thus a nation was born. The Declaration of Independence was immedi- 
ately published to the world. But no signatures were yet appended to it. 
On July 19 it was ordered to lie engrossed on ]iarchnieut and signed ; 
after which several days elapsed before it was perfected. 





July - December. 


Independexcy proclaimed. — The New Yokk Conveni'ion at White Plain.s. — 
Reading of the Declaration at City Hall in Wall Street. — -Hostile Ships sail 
UP the Hudson. — Agitation of the City. — Arrival of Lord Howe. — Inter- 
course with Washington. — Army Officers. — Battle of Long Island. — The 
Defeat. —The Retreat. — The Conference. — Evacuation of the City. — Occu- 
pation BY THE British. — Battle of Harlem Heights. — The Great Fire of 1776. 

— The March to White Plains. — Advance of the British. — Battle of White 
Plains. — AVashington's Change of Position. — Death of Colden. — Capture of 
Fort Washington by the British. — Disasters. — March through New Jersey. 

— General Charles Lee. -t- Crossing the Delaware. — Capture of Trenton by 
Washington. — The New York Prisons. —Condition of the American Army. 

^\~rO telegraphic flash annouuced the final action of the Continental 
_L\l Congress to the remotest quarters of the globe wliile yet the 
o-laddened throng outside the closed doors of Carpenter's Hall in Phila- 
delphia were filling the air with huzzas in unison with the joyous peals 
from the State House bell. Solitary horsemen and slow stages conveyed 
the intelligence to the various towns and cities of the land. It was re- 
ceived with such public exultation that the murmurs of discontent and 
disapprobation were lost in the general uproar. 

New York received the news on the 9th, and on the evening of that 
day, at the same hour on which Nassau Hall at Princeton was 
grandly illuminated and Independency proclaimed therefrom under 
a triple volley of musketry, the Declaration was read, by order of Wasli- 
ington, at the head of each brigade of the army in New York and vicinity. 
It was received with enthusiastic demonstrations of delight ; and amid 
the ringing of bells and jubilant shouts the multitude proceeded to the 
Bowling Green and demolished the ec^uestrian statue of George III., the 
lead to be run into bullets " to assimilate with the lirains of the adver- 
sary." As some of the soldiers were implicated in this popular efferves- 
cence, Washington the ne.xt morning in his general orders dtjnouuced the 

HjJi M^-y 


proceeding as having the effect of a riot, and strictly icn-bade such irreo-u- 
larities in future. 

On the morning of the same day tlie uewly elected Congress of New 
York, styled the " Convention," assembled iu White Plains, General 
WoodhuU presiding, and listened to the reading of the immortal docu- 
ment. Thirty-eight men of sound and discriminating judgment were 
present, representing the Dutch, English, and Huguenot elements of the 
Province. They knew that ibr the inhabitants of New York ultimate 
success could only be secured through years of sorrow, during which they 
were sure to be impoverished, wliilc death stared fnjm every part of their 
territory. The Morrises must almndon their fine estates to tlie ra\ages of 
the enemy; Jay nuust prepare to see his aged parents driven from tlie old 
homestead at Rye to wander and perish ; Van Cortlandt, Van Kensselaer, 
Schuyler, and tlie must sacrifice aucesti'ul wealth and cir- 
cumstance, with all their feudal train, for the democratic level of the new 
de])arture; and the sterling men from Tryon (Anuity nnist face the scalping- 
knife. But they liad counted the cost dispassionatel}', and with one voice 
resolved to sustain the l)eckiration, "at the risk of their lives and fortunes." 
They directed it to be proclaimed M-ith beat of drum in White Plains, and 
in every district elsewhere, and at the same time sent a swift message 
to their delegates iu the Continental Congress, emjiowering them to vote 
for the people of New York. By this decree the comj^lete union of the 
old thirteen colonies was coiisuniniated, and the whole character of the 
contest changed. A separate and independent nation unfurled its flag. 
And New York was declared a sovereign State. 

Tiie English ministry were confident of crushing New York into sub- 
jection. And yet, with the cup of misery foaming at lier lijis, New York 
through her Convention boldly ordered the l)eclaration of Independence 
to be proclaimed from the City Hall in Wall Street, in the most jaiblic 
manner, and in the very face of the enemy's guns. This was done 
July 18, thousands of the principal inhabitants of the city and 
county listening tn the reading of the document witli rajitumus a]i]iro- 
bation. And at the same time the king's coat-of-arms was bmuglit linni 
the court-njom and burned amid thrilling cheers.^ 

This occurrence speaks more directly frdui the real lieart nf New '\(irk, 
in view (ii the consternation which had prevailed in the city for six 

^ ' July it. 

days. Scarcely twenty-i'nur liours had elapsed since Washington had 
advi.sed rhe Convention to remove all women, rhildren, and infirm persons 
at once, as the streets must soon lie "the scene of a bloody conflict." 

July 12. 

(!)n the afternoon of the 12th a nautical movement in tlie liarhor 

' Ti-i/oii to Lord (Irniiiiiii, Au>,' 14, ITTii ; Ihi'nj of tin: U( ivhit ion , il\. 


led observers to suppose New York would be immediately attacked. Two 
lame ships, with three tenders, left their moorings near the Narrows and 
bore down upon the city. Officers and troops flew to tlieir alarm-posts 
and made ready for battle. Women with young children in their arms 
ran shrieking from the lower districts near the Battery, and others, carry- 
ing bundles and wringing their hands and weeping, quartered themselves 
along the Bowery Eoad. The roar of cannon from the various batteries 
confirmed every fear, the Americans having opened upon the vessels. The 
decks of the Phcenix and the Ease, however, were protected with sand- 
bags, and, taking advantage of a fine wind, they sailed proudly by the city 
unharmed, replying with only a few random shots which crashed through 
deserted houses without doing further injury. Towards evening the firing 
ceased ; but ere the supper-hour arrived, clouds of smoke from booming 
guns in the direction of the sullen fleet at Staten Island brought e\'ery 
spy-glass again into requisition. The enemy were saluting a ship of the 
line coming in from sea with fiying colors. It was the transport of the 
Admiral,. Lord Howe. Meanwhile, horsemen were galloping furiously 
along the roads to the north, bearing messages from Washington to his 
generals in the Highlands, and also a letter of warning to the Convention 
at White Plains. The ships had not been sent up the Hudson without 
purpose, and whether to cut off Washington's communication with the 
country, take soundings in the ri^•e^, or arm the Tories preparatory to the 
grand attack, it was equally inqjortant to circum^'ent their enterprise. 
The posts in the Higlilands were as yet scantily manned. General 
Thomas Mittlin conmianded the Philadelphia troops stationed at Fort 
Washington and Kingsbridge, and was immediately on the alert. At nine 
o'clock the next morning an alarm-gun from General James Clinton at 
Fort Constitution thundered through the echoing defiles of the mountains 
opposite, and roused his brother, George Clinton, who, after voting 
' for independence at Philadelphia had hun-ied home to take com- 
mand of the militia of Ulster and Orange Counties. Anticipating orders, 
the intrepid legislator sprang into his saddle, and had stirred up the 
whole country along the river by the time Washington's express reached 
him. The ships of war anchored themselves quietly in Tappan Sea, 
where the river is broad, and sent out Ijarges at night on mysterious 
errands. It was surmised that they were in communication with forming 
companies of Tories on .shore, and possibly bent on the destruction of cer- 
tain vessels of war in progress of construction at Poughkeepsie. One of 
the able allies of Washington at this crisis was Colonel Pierre Van Cort- 
landt, of the old and honorable colonial family who figured so prominently 
in the first century of our history, and who founded Cortlandt manor ; he 


commanded the reyimeiit detailed to guard the public stores at I'eikskill. 
He was a brilliant youug mau of t\veiity-se\-en, and proved a most etti- 
cient officer. He was the son of the proprietor of the manor at that time, 
Pierre Van Cortlandt, who was soon to be made the first lieutenant-gov- 
ernor of Xew York as a State, the grandson of Philip A'an Cortlandt and 
Catharine De Peyster,' and great-grandson of Honorable Stephanas Van 
Cortland and Gertrude Schuyler. Both father and son had nobly declined 
the oflers of royal favors, honors, grants of land, etc., if they would aljan- 
don the popular cause, made by Tryon when he visited them at the old 
manor-house for a few days in 1774. The younger Van Cortlandt de- 
stroyed a major's commission sent him by Tryon, and in the service of 
the new nation acquitted himself with exceptional ability. 

Lord Howe's mission was peace. He had no verj' clear conception of the 
actual condition of aflairs m America, and greatly overestimated the extent 
of his powers. He was a manly, good-natured, brave, unsuspicious noble- 
man, who thought to conciliate by overtures, which the able-minded of 
America regarded as an attempt to corrupt and disunite them. The prop- 
ositions he brought from the ministry left untouched the original causes 
of complaint, and virtually ofiered nothing but pardon on submission. 
He was vaguely authorized to ride about the country and converse 
with private individuals on the subject of their grievances, and report 
opinions. But he was strictly forbidden to treat with Congresses, either 
continental or provincial, or with any civil or military officer holding 
congressional commissions. In earnest conierence with his brother. Gen- 
eral Howe, his views were confirmed as to the readiness of a large majority 
of the inhabitants of New York and Xew Jersey — and of Connecticut 
even — to prove their loyalty, if protected. 

His first step was to address a letter to " George Washington, Escp," 
which he sent in charge of an officer under a flag of truce ; Colonel 
Henry Knox, Colonel Joseph Eeed, and Washington's private secretary, 
Samuel B. Webb, went out in a barge, meeting Lord Howe's messenger 
at a point about half-way lietween Staten and Go\-ernor's Islands. The 
officer, standing, hat in hand, bowed low, and said he was the bearer of a 
letter to " Mr. Washington." Colonel Reed, also bowing, with his head 
uncovered, said he knew of no such person. The officer produced the 
letter. Colonel Eeed said it could not be received with the superscription 
it bore. The officer expressed nuich disappointment, and said Lord Howe 
lamented the lateness of his arrival ; the contents of the letter were of 
moment, and he wished it might be received. Colonel Eeed declined 
with polite decision, and the parties separated. In a few moments the 

1 See Vol. I., 606, genealogical note. 


officers' barge was put about to inquire how " Mr. Washington " chose to 
be addressed. Colonel Eeed replied that the General's rank was well 
known to Lord Howe, therefore the question needed no discussion. The 
interview closed with courteous adieus. 

On tlie same day Lord Howe sent copies of his declaration in circular 
letters to the governors to Aniboy, under a flag of truce ; these papers 
fell into the hands of General Mercer, who sent them to Washington, by 
wliom they were at once transmitted to Congress, anil published for the 
benefit of the people who had expected more and better of England's com- 
missioners. The result was increased inflexibility of determination, and 
gi-eater unity of action on the part of the patriots. Congress delayed no 
longer, but caused their own great state paper of the 4th to be engrossed 
and signed. Of this last solemn transaction a humorous incident is re- 
lated. Benjamin Harrison of Virginia (the father of William Henry 
Harrison, ninth President of the ITnited States) was a large, portly gentle- 
man, while Elln-idge Gerry of Massachusetts was small, slender, and spare. 
As Harrison threw down the pen after affixing his signature to the docu- 
ment, he turned to Gerry with a smile, saying : " When the hanging scene 
comes to be exliibited I shall have the advantage over you on account of 
my size. All will be over with me in a moment, but you will l)e kicking 
in the air half an hour after 1 am gone." 

The day following the reading of the Declaration from the City Hall in 
Wall Street, General Howe sent an officer with a flag to learn 
whether Colonel Patterson, the ad.jutant-general of Lord Howe, 
could be admitted to an interview with Washington. The request was 
granted, and an appointment made for the following morning. At the 
hour specified. Colonel Reed and young Webb went down the harbor to 
meet Colonel Patterson, took him into their barge, and with much lively 
conversation escorted him to the city.^ The customary precaution 
of blindfolding was omitted, a courtesy warmly acknowledged by 
the British officer. They rowed directly in front of the grand battery, 
and landing, conducted their guest to the Kennedy House, No. 1 Broad- 
M'ay, where he was received by Washington with much form and cere- 
mony, in full military costume, " elegantly attired," with his officers and 
guards about him. Colonel Patterson addressed him by the title of 
" Excellency," apologized for the commissioners, who meant no disrespect, 

1 Colonel Reed was thirty-five years of age at this time. He was a native of Trenton, New 
Jersey, graduated from Princeton College at the age of sixteen, and went to England to com- 
plete his studies prior to the practice of his profession in Trenton. In 1770 he revisited 
England and married a daughter of Dennis De Berdt, agent of Massachusetts. A brother of 
Mrs. Reed had concerted with Lord Howe before he sailed for this country in the prepara- 
tion of conciliatory letters for several prominent Amcrican.s. 


and produced, but did not ofter, a letter bearing the inscription, " George 
Washington, Esq., &c., &c., &c.," which, as it implied everything, it was 
hoped would remo\'e aU obstacles in the way of correspondence. Wash- 
ington replied that three et ceteras might mean everything, but that thev 
also implied anything ; and that he could not with propriety receive a 
letter from the king's commissioners, addressed to him as a pri\-ate person, 
when it related to his public station. Colonel Patterson then attempted 
to communicate, as far as he could recollect, the sidistance of what was 
contained in the epistle. Lord Howe and his brother were invested with 
exceedingly great powers, and were very desirous of healing all difficul- 
ties. Washington replied that he had read their declaration, and found 
they were merely empowered to grant pardons. The Americans, having 
committed no wrong, wanted no pardons ; they were only defending what 
they considered indisputable rights. Colonel Patterson seemed confused, 
and remarked that this would open a wide field for argument. He mani- 
fested great solicitude concerning the residts of the interview, which was 
conducted with stately courtesy by all concerned. Washington invited 
him to partake of a collation prepared for him, and he was introduced to 
the general officers. After many graceful compliments he took his lea\c, 
asking, " Has your Excellency no commands to my Lord or General 
Howe ? " " None, sir, Ijut my particular compliments to both of them," 
was the courtty reply, (^xeueral Howe, in writing an account of tliis con- 
ference to the ministry, observed, " The interview was more jiolite than 
interesting ; however, it induced me to change my superscrijition for the 
attainment of an end so desirable, and in this view I flatter myself it will 
not be disapproved." Henceforward all letters from the British comman- 
ders to Washington bore his proper title. 

Lord Howe was humiliated when the truth of the actual and power- 
less nature of his conunissions entered his soul. He was more than half 
inclined to act upon the suggestion contained in a letter from Dr. Frank- 
lin, and relinquish a command which would compel him to proceed by 
force of arms against a people whose English privileges he respected, and 
whose wrongs he heartUy desired to see redressed. 

At this crisis all manner of sectional and personal jealousies were dis- 
turbing the even tenor of preparations for the conflict. The troops from 
the different Colonies regarded each other with curiosity, which not infre- 
quently developed into animosity. Those wearing high-colored uniforms 
fashionably cut sneered at the in-egulars in homespun tow. The officers 
were more troublesome even than the men : of Maryland and Virginia, 
where military rank was sharply defined, they were mostly from the cities, 
and of aristocratic habits ; of Connecticut, though men of reputation and 
VOL. n. 7 


wealth, they were often elected by the men out of their own ranks, and 
distinguished only by a cockade. Then, again, pride of equality prevailed 
to such extent that every one insisted upon his own opinion, and was ever 
ready to question the wisdom of those above him. It required the utmost 
tact and discretion to harmonize these bewildering elements and maintain 
tbe semblance of proper discipline over all. 

A clash between the two generals, Schuyler and Gates, who had in 
charge the northern frontier, caused anxious forebodings. General Sulli- 
van, who had conducted the retreat of the American army from Canada, 
was deeply hurt when Gates, his former inferior in rank, was appointed 
over him. The command of Gates was totally independent of that of 
Schuyler while the army was in Canada. But the moment it crossed the 
line it was within the limits of Schuyler's command. Thus there were 
two generals in the field with corresponding authority over the same 
troops. A council of war decided to abandon Crown Point and fortify 
Ticonderoga, and for a time the two authorities worked in unison to 
prevent the invasion of New York by the British from the north. 

Tidings from the Southern department of the repulse of Sir Henry 
Clinton in an attack upon Charleston was of a more cheering character. 
General Lee wrote begging Washington to urge C^ongress to furnish inore 
cavalry. With a thousand of this species of troops he declared he could 
insure the safety of the Southern provinces. About the beginning of 
August the squadron of Sir Henry Clinton anchored, as if suddenly 
dropped from the clouds, in New York Bay. 

General Putnam was busy during the hot days of July in planning 
a mechanical obstruction to the channel of the Hudson opposite Fort 
Washington, which, however, practically came to nothing. A scheme for 
destroying the fleet in the harbor with fire-ships, proposed by Ephraim 
Anderson, an adjutant in one of the New Jersey battalions, occupied con- 
siderable attention about the same time, but the arrival of a hundred sail, 
with large reinforcements of Hessians and other foreign troops to "assist 
in forcing the rebels to ask mercy," necessitated its abandonment. The 
PJuenix and the Bosc, in Tappau Sea, were attacked in a spirited manner 
on the 3d of August by six of Tupper's row-galleys, and a brisk 
firing was Icept up for two hours, when the commodore gave the 
signal to retire. An attempt at submarine navigation also awakened no 
little interest during the same period of suspense. David Bushnell of 
Saybrook, Connecticut, invented a novel machine for the purpose of blow- 
ing up the entire British shipping. It was ingeniously constructed of 
pieces of oak timber with iron bands, the seams calked, and the whole 
smeared with tar. It was large enough for a man to stand or sit inside, 


the top shaped to the head, with thick glass inserted for light ; it was 
balanced with lead, and two forcing-pumps managed by the feet enabled 
its occupant to rise or sink at pleasure. It had a rudder, a pocket-compass 
fastened near a bit of shining wood (for light at night i, and a glass tube 
inclosing cork for measuring depth of sea. It could be rowed horizontally 
under water by means of two paddles revolving upon an axletree in front 
like the arms of a windmill, and turned by a crank inside. To its back was 
attached by a scre\\', an egg-shajied magazine contaiinng one hundred and 
thirty pounds of gunpowder, also a clock, a gunlock, and a flint. The 
withdrawal of the screw started the clock, which, after running thirty 
minutes, woidd strike and fire the powder. The magazine was to be 
fastened into the bottom of a ship, the performer escajiing while the cluck 
ticked out its nunutes i)ric>r to the e.xplosiou. Ezra Lee, of Lyme, Con 
necticut, a sergeant under Parsons, was sent out one dark night (just after 
the retreat from Long Island) to make the experiment, a party in whale- 
boats towing him within easy distance of the Meet. He descended under 
one of the largest ships, but, owing to an iron plate above the copper 
sheathing, could not fasten the apparatus. He tried to force the screw 
into the ship's bottom in various spots, until warned by the light of early 
dawn that it was too late for further effort at that time. Then he com- 
menced his perilous return of four miles to the city, where Putnam, 
Parsons, and others stationed on the wharf awaited results. Off Gov- 
ernor's Island he was discovered by the British soldiers, wdio gathered in 
great nundiers on the parapet to watch his cpieer motions, and finally 
rowed after him in a barge. As an act of defense he disconnected the 
magazine ; and it exploded throwing high into the air a prodigious column 
of water with a deafening roar, which sent his pursuers padtUing swiftly 
back from whence they came, dazed with fright. 

The city was like a furnace during August. ]Mrs. Washington was on 
her way to Virginia ; and the other ladies, wives of the general officers, 
who had enlivened headcpiarters by their presence, had been sent out of 
the way of the coming storm. Thefe was sickness on every side; soldiers 
from the country were constantly falling ill ; " the air of the whole town 
seems infected," wrote ^'olekert Peter Douw.^ Alarms were perpetual. It 

1 Volekert Peter Doinv was one of the able supporters of the Kevohitioii. He was the 
representative of a substantial Duteh family, the aneestor of whom, Volekert Jansen Dou\% 
a man of wealth and influence, settled on the Hudson in 1698, whose descendants have inter- 
married with the Van Kensselaers, Bcekmans, Banckers, Ten Broecks, De Peysters, Van Cort- 
landts, Livingstons, and other leading families. Volekert Peter was born in 1720, and died 
in 1801. He was the Vice-President of the first New York Congress, and held many imjior- 
tant positions in social and civil life. His father was Petrus Douw, wlio built the old 
at AVoIvenhoeck (the Wolves Point) Greenbush, in 1723, with bricks brought from Holland, 


was confidently rumored that the British intended to " put all to the 
sword." It was suspected that they would attempt to surround Man- 
hattan Island. Some of Washington's advisers thought he was only 
endangering the army by remaining in New York, and counseled evacu- 
ating and burning the city. John Jay regarded this course proper if the 
post could not be held ; perched in the Highlands, the Americans might 
baffle England's experts in the art of war for an indefinite period. Con- 
gress, less gifted in warfare than in constructing an empire, abounded with 
impracticable resolutions. New York must be defended under every dis- 
advantage. To do this it was plain that the Heights of Brooklyn must be 
held, as also Governor's Island, Paulus Hook, and the posts along the 
Hudson — points separated by water, and some of them fifteen miles 
apart — and the army to be thus distributed numbered less than seven- 
teen thousand, of whom full one fifth' were sick and disabled from duty. 
Few regiments were properly equipped, in several the muskets were not 
enough to go round ; scarcely six thousand of the soldiers had seen actual 
service, and skilled artillerymen were altogether wanting. Before them 
was an armada outnumbering in both ships and men that which PhilijJ II. 
organized for the invasion of England in 1588. It was snugly anchored 
in a safe haven between Sandy Hook and Staten Island, with no possi- 
bility of being scattered by any providential storm. It was a spectacle 
of surpassing brilliancy. Thirty-seven men-of-war and four hundred 
transports formed a bristling forest of masts. Trustworthy spies reported 
forty thousand disciplined warriors (accurately the number was about 
thirty-five thousand), including the seven thousand eight hundred Hes- 
sians purchased by King George at the rate of $34.50, per man killed, 
reckoning three wounded as one dead. 

In the urgency of danger Washington called for volunteers, however 
brief their terms of service. Connecticut responded as best she coiild, 
her population being already largely represented. The Convention of 
New York called upon the militia to form temporary camps on the shores 
of the Hudson and the Sound, and to aid in repelling the enemy wherever 
they were most needed. The farmers dropped their scythes and cycles 
with surprising alacrity, and manfully shouldered their muskets. King's 
County, Long Island, being reputed a stronghold of Tories, the Conven- 
tion ordered that any of the militia in that county refusing to serve 
should be immediately disarmed and secured, and their possessions laid 

and his mother was Anna Van Rensselaer, great-granddaughter of tlie first Patroon, and also 
the great-granddaughter of Anneke Jans. His wife was Anna De Peyster, great-granddaugh- 
ter of Johannes De Pevster. 



The situation was painful beyond language, embracing, as it did, all 
the horrors of civil warfare. Fathers, sons, and brothers were in a mul- 
titude of cases arrayed for battle against each other. The efforts of the 
British officers to enlist the Long-Islanders in their service was not with- 
out its effect in many districts, for with such a formidaljle fleet before 
their eyes, what promise could they see in resistance f But neither Lord 
nor General Howe had measured correctly the spirit of New York. They 
were to discover to their sorrow that the influential faniilirs were much 
more numerously represented in the 
" rebel " ranks than they had been 
led to expect. William Floyd wrote 
from Philadelphia to the Convention 
in great anxiety concerning the escape 
of his family from Long Island. He 
made earnest inquiries about relatives 
and personal friends : 
"What they suli- 
luit to ? L)espotism oi- 
destruction I fear is their 
fate." David Clarkson 
ha.stily quitted his sum- 
mer residence in Flat- 
bush, taking refuge in 
New Brunswick, Ne^\• 
Jersey ; his wife was 
accompanied by her wid- 
owed sister, Mrs. David 
Van Home, and five 
handsome, well-bred young lady daughters. The Hessian soldiers entered, 
and amused themselves with plundering Clarkson's vacant home. They 
discovered his choice imported wines, and exhibited a royal drunken 
frolic on the back piazza and in the yards. This large dwelling was 
subsequently converted into a hospital by the enemy. A trusty slave, 
in the moment of danser, managed to secrete a large amount of silver 
plate and other family treasures, which were thereby preserved to later 
generations. Scarcely had Clarkson heard of the disasters attending the 
battle of Long Island, when the great fire destroyed his elegant city 
residence with all its contents, portraits and ancient relics, and he was 
reduced from the greatest affluence to comparative penury. He had 
still quite a number of houses in the city from which he might have 
derived a tolerable revenue, but his real estate was seized, and he was 

General Matthew Clarkson, 

fFrom a painting by Stuart, in possession of Matlliew Clarlvson.] 



kept out of his income until the end of the war.^ His two sons were in 
active service ; David was captain of a company, under Colonel Josiah 
Smith, to which Matthew was attached as a volunteer, and met the British 
on the 27tli in the memorable battle of Long Island. Matthew (after- 
wards General) was a youth of brilliant parts, handsome, engaging, and of 
great strength and beauty of character.^ He was shortly promoted, acquit- 
ting himself noljly 

half a 

:ind public- 

throughout the struggle, and for nearly 
century was one of New York's most 
spirited citizens. 

Washington's deficiency in 
fighting material at this cri- 
sis was only equaled by 
the lack of military coun- 
sel upon which he could 
f^rely. Few of his offi- 
cers were known to have 
superior capacity for 
war ; the majority of 
them were untrained, 
and some were without 

1 See (Vol. II.) pages 34, 35, 
36. Mr. Clai-kson remained at 
New Brunswick until the spring 
of 1777, when, through the in- 
tervention of some of his old 
friends who had espoused the 
'Royal cause, he was permitted 
to return to his house in Flat- 
bush, leaving his "char- 
iot, four-wheeled chaise, 
chair, and sulky" on tlie 
Earitan. Mr. Nicholas 
Couwenhoven welcomed 
him home by a kind note of congratulation, and not only offered his wagon and horses to help 
him with his family to his seat in Flatbush, but e.vtended hospitalities to them all until 
they should be better provided for. The Van Homes returned with the Clarksons, and, 
although avowed Whigs, were treated with great respect by the British officers. — Tlie Clark- 
sons of New York, Vol. I. 251-258. The coat of arms and autograph illustrated in the 
sketch were those of Secretary Matthew Clarksou, the first of the name in New York. 

^ Smith's company was the first to cross the river on the retreat, and Matthew Clarkson 
slept the following night in the deserted house of his aunt, Mrs. Van Home, in Wall Stieet. 
He shortly joined the family at New Brunswick. From here he went to the house belonging 
to his father in Percepany, occupied during the summer by Governor William Livingston 
(whose wife was the sister of young Clarkson's mother and Mrs. Van Home), when- he met 
and made the personal acquaintance of General Greene, who recommended him to Wasli- 
ington, by whom he was apjiointed aide-de-camp to General Benedict Arnold. 

ASMS AMU fri rTTTATT rgTl DOEtED I'SLDI^.Jl. cot>lv_tJ VAUcra 


aptitude for the service. Greene was stationed at Brooklj-n, and enfjaced 
in throwin.u' up worlds witli reniarlaible vigor and rajiidity ; but lie was 
scarcely thirty-four, without experience, except in theory and such as he 
had acquired at the head of his Khode-lslanders at Bunker Hill, and his 
military judgment was crude. Jlittlin was about the same age, of highly 
animated appearance, full of activity and apparently of fire, but too much 
of a bustler, harassing his men unnece.s.sarily. Knox, the artillery colonel, 
although bra\e as a lion, or any braver thing, was only twenty-six, and 
fresh i'rom a Boston bookstore. Eeed was thirty-five, and invaluable from 
many points of view, but no veteran in the management of battles. 
Heath was one year under forty, and while a born organizer, ever on the 
alert, breathing the very spirit of control, and possessing a well-balanced 
mind, his qualiiicatious for the field remained to be proven. Scott was 
older, and commanded an effective brigade oi' New-Yorkers, intent upon 
defending their capital to the last drop of their blood, but he was more 
valorous than discreet, and violently headstrong under excitement. 
Spencer, born on the shore of the Connecticut (at East Haddam) was 
sixty-two, one of the oldest of the major-generals, with experience in the 
French war, Init he stood higher in the esteem and good-will than in the 
confidence of Washington, for his wisdom in great emergencies had not 
yet been tested. Parsons, the Lyme lawyer, ^\•ith less knowledge of the 
jiractical application of the theories of war, and younger liy twenty-three 
years, was much the greater military genius ; he divided with the un- 
tiring Wadsworth the honor of conmiauding the flower of the Connecti- 
cut soldiery, but his tactics and generalship were yet to he learned and 
ajipreciated. A\'iilcott, a statesman of fifty ripe years, who had ser\-ed 
the Crown manfully during the struggle with France, and whose capa- 
cious mind might have helped in grappling the problem had he been 
present in season, came tkrough the scorching heat and dust at the last 
moment, leading the several regiments hurriedly raised b}' Governor 
Trumbull to assist in the city's defense. Stirling was also fifty, of fine 
presence and the most martial appearance of any general in the army save 
Washington himself, was quick-witted, intelligent, far-seeing, and vocifer- 
ous among his troops ; he had had, moreover, crinsideraVile military school- 
ing, liut his special forte, so far as deN'eloped, lay rather in enginery and 
the planning of fortifications than in the conduct of great battles. Nixon, 
of about the same age, had served at the capture of Louisburg, and for 
years subsequent to that event, fighting at Ticonderoga when Abercrom- 
bie was defeated, and in the battle of Lake George ; he was wounded at 
Bunker Hill, from the effects of which he was still suffering, and although 
commanding a brigade his endurance of au\- protracted hardship was not. 


assured. Sullivan, a lawyer of thirty-six, who through the fearless exe- 
cution of certain important trusts won the good opinion of Congress and 
was appointed major-general with enthusiasm, had just returned from an 
expedition to the northern frontiers, when Greene was prostrated by the 
fever, whose place he was deputed at once to till ; but, although faithful 
and brave in the superlative degree, he was imperfectly acquainted with 
the geography of the region, had no time to studj^ the details of the situa- 
tion, and was personally a stranger to the troops under his new command. 
And Putuam, who succeeded Sullivan four days later, with the advantage 
of experience in arms together with twenty more years of life, and possess- 
ing all the elements of character except caution most needed to engage 
an enemy, was indifferent to strategy, and had little actual familiarity 
with the destined scene of action. 

The majority of the subordinate otiicers were young men. Of those 
afterward best known to fame, Hamilton was nineteen, Aaron Burr 
twenty, Nicholas Fish, Scott's brigade-major, eighteen, Aaron Ogden 
twenty, and Samuel B. Webb twenty-three ; while those who occupied 
posts of extreme danger and responsibility (other than already men- 
tioned) were no patriarchs — McDougall had but just rounded his forty- 
fifth year, the two Clintons, guarding the Hudson approaches, were 
respectively forty and thirty-seven, and Van Cortlandt and the intrepid 
Varnum were neither above twenty-seven. 

Fellows was stationed on the liudscm, between Greenwich and Canal 
Street. His brigade-major, Mark Hopkins (grandfather of the distin- 
guished divine of the same name, late President of Williams College), 
roused him from slumlier on the rainy Sunday morning of the 

"^' ' 18th, by announcing that the Phcenix and the Bosc were coming 
down the river under full sail before a strong northeast wind. The 
commanders, it seems, had enjoyed very little peace at their anchorage 
in Tappan Sea, their last annoyance having been a night attack by two 
fire-ships, one of which had grappled the Phcenix and been shaken (jff 
with difficulty, the other striking and burning one of the tenders. To 
the surprise of Putnam, they passed his sunken vessels opposite Fort 
Washington without being tripped as he predicted, and rounded the 
Battery unharmed Ijy the guns along the shores. They cannonaded the 
city as they proceeded, injuring many houses ; one nine-pounder entered 
a dwelling opposite the old Lutheran Church on Broadway, dancing 
through the sleeping apartments of the family without hurting any one ; 
and several mucli larger Imlls tore chnvu chimneys, and drop]ied in 
back yards and gardens witli stirring effect. It was fortunately a,n 
li(_)ur wlien few jjeople were in tlie streets, and there was little if any 


loss of life. Divine service was attended in but one of the city churches 
on tliat memorable Sabbath ■ — the Moravian, on Fulton Street opposite 
the North Dutch Church. 

New York was in extreme agitation. What was to prevent the British 
fleet from running up the Hudson and landing in the reai' of the town ? 
All manner oi' rumors were rii'e. Persons suspected of favoring the 
enemy were treated with the utmost rigor. Notwithstanding the vigil- 
ance exercised, farmers from Queen's County were carrying boat-loads of 
jirovisions at the risk of their lives to the royal army, and furnishing all 
the knowledge necessary for the conduct of the campaign. The Tories 
who had been disarmed the preceding winter were hiding in swamps, 
holes, hollow trees, and cornfields, or cruising in small boats on the Sound, 
lauding and sleeping in the woods at night, and taking to the water again 
in the morning. John Harris Cruger, one of Tyron's counselors, whose 
wife was a daughter of Oliver De Lancey, was concealed for three weeks 
upon a mow in a farmer's barn. Theophylact Bache, fifth president of the 
Chamber of Commerce, in attempting to preserve neutrality, found him- 
self not only an object of sui3picion, but in a most delicate position. His 
only brother, Richard, had married the daughter of Franklin, and was 
strong in symj^athy with the Revolutionists. On the other hand, his wife's 
sister was married to Major Moucrieft', an officer in the king's service.-^ 
Mrs. Moncrieff was ill at his house in Flatlmsli, and a letter addressed to 
her husljand without signature was interre])ted and accredited to Bache. 
He was summoned before the Committee, and, instead of obeying, wrote 
protesting tliat he had disregarded no order of Congress, Continental or 
^ro^'incial, nor was it his intention, but the distress of Mrs. Bache and his 
numerous family, occasioned Ijy the arrival of the fleet, necessitated his 
exertions to " save them from the horrible calamities of the approaching 
confliet." Presently he was warned that a band of " Tory-hunters" were 
on their way to capture him, and escaped in the night in company 
with his Tn-other-in-law, Augustus Van Cortlandt. They had serious 
adventures : Van Cortlandt was concealed in a cow-house for ten days, 
the conscientious Dutch farmer walking backwards when he carried him 
his meals, in order to be able to swear that he had not seen him. Both 
gentlemen at last reached the British lines on Staten Island in safety. 

On Wednesday a thunder-!5torm of unparalleled severity hung over the 
city from seven to ten in the evenint:; ; four men, three of whom 

Auk. 21. 

were army officers, were killed by lightning, and several others 

1 See Vol. T. 760 (genealogieal referenee in note) ; Augustus Van Cortlandt was of the 
Yonkers braneli of the Van Cortlandts, the sou of Fi edeiiok Van ( 'ortlandt and Frances Jay, 
and thus the first eousin of John Jay. See Vol. I. 606, 607, note. 



injured ; numerous buildiugs and trees, and one vessel at the dock, were 
struck, the thunder roaring in a continuous peal for hours. In the midst 
of the tempest the ever-watchful William Livingston upon the Jersey 
shore, having sent a spy into the enemy's camp on Staten Island at mid- 
night the day before, despatched by messenger a letter written in all 
haste to Washington with the intelligence that twenty thousand troops 
had embarked for a movement upon New York. A copy of the com- 
munication was at once forwarded to the Couveutiou at White Plains. 

Sketch of Battle-Ground. 

The ne.Kt morning tlie looming of cannon was heard, and columns of 
smoke were descried arising from the direction of Gravesend, Long 

"^' ' Island. Three frigates, Phamix, Rose, and Grriihumul, had taken 
tlieir stations as covering-ships for the landing, and before noon the roads 
and plains in and about Gravesend and New Utrecht were thronged with 
scarlet uniforms and glittering with Viurnished steel. Colonel Hand,^ 

1 Edward Hand was a native of ( 'lydiiff, King's County, Ireland ; he settled in Pennss'l- 
vania in 1774, intending to practice hi.s profession, — that of a surgeon. He joined the army 
at the outset of the Revolution, and remained in service until the close of the war. In 1777 
he was made a brigadier-general. He was thirty -two years of age at the time of the battle of 
Long Island, of fine martial figure, and distinguished among the officers for his noble horse- 
manship. After the war he held offices of civil trust, was a member of the Congress of 
17S4_8.5, and his name is affixed to the Pennsylvania constitution of 1790. 


stationed upon heights near what is now Fort Hamilton, watched the 
scene with interest, and fell back with his command, driving before him 
what cattle he could, and setting tire to haystacks and provender along 
llie route, taking position finally upon a hill commanding the central 
road leading from Flatbush to Brooklyn. Eegiment after regiment 
crossed over from New York to meet the foe. Sullivan was on the wino-, 
and threw out detachments in various directions to guard the passes 
through the natural depressions of the woody ridge of hills, of which 
there were four within six mdes from the harbor. Lord Cornwallis 
advanced rapidly to seize the central pass ; but, finding Hand and his 
riflemen ready for a vigorous defense, took post for the night in the village 
of Flatbush. 

The Convention at White Flains was summoned that afternoon at a 
somewhat unusual hour by " the ringing of the bell." Livingston's letter 
to Washington had arrived, and was i)resented Ijy John Sloss Hobart, 
who informed the gentlemen that the landing had already been eflected. 
Information from Livingston that the Ihitish army " had eaten up all tlie 
cattle on Staten Island, and were now killing and barreling the country 
horses for food," induced the Convention to resolve ui)on a plan to hinder 
meat supplies ; Woodliull, the president, was in control of the militia of 
Long Island, and was at once directed to proceed with a troop of to 
points eastward of the British encampment, and remove or kill stock, 
burn barns, and destroy mills, as the urgency of the case might demand, 
and as far as practicable prevent foraging incursions. He was to depend 
for his force chiefly upon the militia of Suffolk and Queen's counties; 
although Washington was requested to order Smith's and Eemsen's 
regiments to his assistance. But these regiments were unable to reach 
him, as the sequel proved. 

For .some reason unaccountable to the Americans the British did nut jiush 
forward on the 23d as anticipated. General Howe issued a proclaniation 
to the jieiiple of Long Island offering jirotectiou and favor if they would 
dro]) their rebellious arms, in-esumaVily forced upon them by their leaders, 
and was sin-prised at the limited nunilier who responded. On the 24th 
this iireat military host, one of the finest and best officered ever 

. Aug. 24. 

sent out of Great Britain, remained a]ipareutly idle, stretched 
along the country on the flats beyond the chain of wooded hills. Hand 
with his riflemen still guarded the chief Central, having thrown up 
a redoubt ; and detachments numbering in all some twenty-five Inuidred 
were scattered along the thicket for full six miles — distant li-om the lines 
at Brooklyn from one and a half to three miles. Washington was aston- 
ished and chagrined at the unmilitary and irregular proceedings of his 


troops in a multitude of instances, which he discovered on his visit of 
inspection during the day on Saturday. Detachments skirmished with 
the vanguard of the enemy without orders and with little method, and 
others, scarcely better than marauding parties, robbed dwellings, barns„ 
and hen-roosts, and burned the houses of friend and foe alike. He issued 
severe orders for the suppression of such lawless conduct, and sent Put- 
nam to supersede Sullivan, as better able, in his judgment, to harmonize 
the diverse elements of which the army was composed. And to Sullivan, 
with Stirling as his second, was assigned the command of the troops out- 
side the lines. 

These lines, extending for about a mile and a half, were defended 
by ditches and felled trees, the counterscarp and parapet fraised with 
sharpened stakes. Sunday the 25th and ]\Ionday the 26th were busy, 
anxious, watchful days for the American generals, and the troops M'ere 
continually at their alarm-posts. Howe had miscalculated the opposing 
force, and believed he was to contend with at least forty thousand ; hence 
his plan of attack was elaborate. Had he known what is now so clear to 
posterity, that not over seven thousand men tit i'or duty were in the 
American camp on the evening of the 26th (the numbers were swollen 
by the regiments ordered over from New York on the following day), he 
might have exercised less caution with greater success. His own com- 
plete force, including officers, was twenty-one thousand, outnumbering the 
Americans three to one.^ 

About two o'clock on the morning of Tuesday, Hand and his riflemen, 
who had been on almost constant duty for six entire days, wei'e relieved, 
and, returning to the lines, dropped upon the wet ground to sleep. 
' Even now the army of King George was in motion. The advance 
was by three distinct columns. It was arranged that a squadron of five 
ships under Sir Peter Parker should divert attention by menacing the city 
of New York in the early morning. Meanwhile Major-General Grant, 
moving along the coast road near the Narrows, was to feign an attack upon 
the Americans in that quarter, and De Heister with his Hessians, was to 
force the Central Flatbush Pass at a given signal ; the third division, 

1 Authorities consulted in writing tliis brief description of tlie Battle of Long Island in- 
clude, Bancruft's History of the United States ; Siiles's History of tlie City of Brooklyn ; Jones's 
History of New York durhuj tlie Revolutionary War ; Johnsons Campaign of 1776 around 
Ncio York and Brooklyn ; Thompsons History of Long Island ; Irving' s Life of Washington ; 
Moore's Diary of tlie American Revolution ; Sparks's Life of Washington ; Morse's Revolu- 
tion ; Lord Mahon's History of England ; Naslis Journal ; Heath's Memoirs ; Journals of 
the New York Convention: New York Revolutionary Papers : New York in the American 
Revolution; Force; Gordon; Dunlap ; togetlier with biographical sketches, private letters, 
and documents too numerous to cite. 


i-eally the main body, — a column ten thousand strong, — comprising the 
choicest battalions, and led by Sir Henry Clinton, Lord Percy, and Lord 
Cornwallis, and accompanied by General Howe himself, made a long 
detour of nine miles in the dead of night, guided by farmers of the region, 
to the Jamaica Pass. The intention was to interpose itself between the 
wooded hills and the lines before an alarm could be sounded, thereby 
cutting off Ihe retreat of the scattering detachments. Tents were left 
standing and camp-fires burning, to deceive the American guards in the 
heights above. The march was conducted in strict silence, and the 
great hostile body as it moved along in the darkness irresistibly swept 
into its grasp every human being within its reach who might perchance 
give information. The first glimpses of early dawn were not yet per- 
ceivable, when, removing fences and taking a short cut across the fields, the 
column halted in the open lots in front of Howard's tavern, now standing 
at the intersection of Broadway and the Jamaica turnpike, a little to the 
southeast of the winding defile, which was guarded only by a mounted 
patrol of five officers.^ These guards were on the Jamaica road a little 
below, listening for signs and sounds of the enemy (never dreaming it 
could slip across lots so quietly) and were almost immediately discov- 
ered and captured ; thus was the only obstacle on the Jamaica route 
through the Pass removed. The innkeeper and his son were com- 
pelled to guide the British around to tlie road as soon as it was f(nmd 
to be unguarded. About nine o'clock De Heister, who had been firing 
random guns without stirring from his post, to the great perplexity of 
Sullivan as he moved along the ridge with four hundred of his men 
inspecting the' situation, heard two heavy signal guns and knew that 
Howe and his ten thousand had gained the rear of the Americans. He 
at once ordered Donop to carry the Pass, and the Hessians swarmed up 
from the Flatbush plains with drums beating and colors flying. The 
troops in the hills were apprised of the trap which had been sprung upon 
them by the same fiery mouthj ~-- They were wedged in with walls 
of steel and fire on both sides. Eetreat was the only alternative. But 
how ? At the redoubt in the Central Pass there was little opposition, 
and it was quickly occupied by the exultant Hessians. The riflemen had 
turned to engage the British, who were advancing with fixed bayonets, and 
fought with unparalleled bravery, but were thrown back upon the Hessians. 
Miles, Wyllys, Cornell, and other officers, with their little handfuls of 
men at different points (numbering, all told, less than two thousand), 
made herculean effort to reach roads that were the only possible avenue 

' Gmit Van Wrigeuen, Jeioiiiimis Hooghml, RobiTt Tioiip, Eawanl Duiiscoiiib, and 
Lieutinant Gilliland. 


to the lines, ruoniug in squads and fighting as tliey ran along the rough 
slopes ; but the road they sought, when reached, was a scarlet mass of 
warriors, by whom they were hurled bacl^, like their comrades, upon the 
Hessians. The scene was too terrible for description. If we may credit 
the enemy's account of the struggle, the Hessians had been purposely told 
that the rebels had resolved to give no quarter — to them in particular ; 
thus they bayoneted without discretion. The fury upon both sides was 
extreme. The enemy were amazed at the \'alor of men struggling against 
such overwhelming numbers. For two hours the hills echoed with shouts 
and cries. Some succeeded in cutting their way through and reaching 
the lines, others fell or were captured ; among the latter, after fighting 
with great heroism, was Sullivan himself 

A little before noon another signal-gun conveyed to Grant in the coast 
road — his line reaching into the Greenwood hills — the intelligence tliat 
Cornwallis liad reached ground in the rear of Stirling and Parsons, with 
whom Grant had been playing an artillery duel ever since he drove in 
the pickets at early dawn. Stirling, ordered by Sulli\-an to check the 
progress of the enemy in tliat direction, had made a stand on the ridge 
about the site of what is now Twentieth Street, his force not exceeding 
sixteen hundred. Grant was seven thousand strong, including two com- 
panies of New York loyalists. Parsons, with Atlee's and Huntington's 
regiments, embracing some three hundred men, was detailed by Stirling 
to prevent the enemy from overlapping him on the left, and fought upon a 
hiU further on between which and himself there was a great unprotected 
gap. Stirling was unaware of the web that was being sjjun and the 
scenes transpiring elsewhere ; with his men formed in battle array he had 
for four hours maintained an invincible front against the perpetual fire 
of Grant, who, in obeying orders, made only threatening forward move- 
ments until notified that the flanking columns were masters of the inner 
field. No message came to Stirling of Sullivan's defeat. No relief, or 
orders for withdrawal, reached him from headquarters, the British having 
intervened in such numbers as to render communication impossible. 

Now with one simultaneous rush the devoted party were attacked on 
three sides, and Stirling's eyes were quickly opened to the fact that he 
was nearly surrounded by a vastly superior force. The Gowanus marsh 
and creek, here at its widest, separated him from the only way of 
retreat to the lines, the roads being all occupied by the enemy. With 
soldierly self-possession he ordered the main part of his command to 
attempt the perilous crossing as best they could; and to protect the men 
while they forded or swam the waters which the rising tide was rendering 
every moment less and less passable, he placed himself at the head of 


about three hundred gallant Marylanders aud dashed upon Cornwallis, 
who was posted in the old Cortelyou house. The attack was so sjnrited 
that they drove the advanced guard back upon the house and held the 
position for some minutes, then withdrew beyond a beud in the road ; 
but only to gather strength for a renewed attack. Again and again this 
heroic band rallied about their general and returned to the encounter; 
they charged upon the house, once driving the guuuers from aud seizing 
their pieces within its shadow, and seemed on the very point of dislodf- 
iug Cornwallis, but with prudence equal to their courage retired swiftly 
as fresh troops came running in great numbers to his aid. Furthermore, 
Stirling saw that his main object was accomplished. The rest of his 
command were on the safe side of the creek, couductiug twetity-three 
prisoners to the lines and holding up ]iroudly the wet and tattered colors 
of Smallwood's regiment, under the protection of Smallwood himself, 
who had come out to meet them and prevent pursuit. A few had been 
drowned in wading and swimming the angry waters, but the number did 
not exceed eight, two of wliom were Hessian prisoners. Stirling had 
sacrificed himself and party for the good of the whole, with less loss of 
life than tradition records, although scores of brave men fell in the ter- 
rible charge of the three hundred. With the survivors Stirling fled into 
the hills, but nearly all were caj)tured ; he eluded pursuit until he could 
reach tlie Hessian corps, where he surrendered his swoi'd to De Heister. 

Parsons, meanwhile, was surprised to discover tliat the line whose 
flank lie had been protecting for hours was no longer there. Stirling had 
not informed him of his sudden action, as no messenger could pass the 
gap under such a fire. Tims he nuist retreat without orders, but Corn- 
wallis had complete command of the road. In short, he was hemmed in 
on every side. He turned into the woods, and .some of his men escaped ; 
but the greater part, including Atlee, were captured. He hid in a swamp, 
and with seven men made his way into the American lines at daylight 
next morning. 

The ships of the British line which were intended to menace New York 
diu-ing this attack were battled l)y a strong headwind. Only one vessel, 
the Bochuck, was able to reach a point where it coidd play upon the fort 
at Red Hook. Washington had remained in New York until satisfied 
there couhl be no immediate attack upon the city, then hastened to the 
lines in Brooklyn, and was just in time to witness, with anguish, the 
disasters the reader has already learned. Beft)re two o'clock in the after- 
noon the battle was over. The British were in possession of the outer 
line nf defense, an<l the Americans were within the fortified eaniii cm the 
lirooklyu peninsula. 


The victory shed little glory on British arms. Both Englaud and 
America were astonished that Howe, with an army of such proportions 
and by dint of au apparently overwhelming manceuvre, had not totally 
annihilated the scattering outposts ! The Americans were seldom en- 
gaged less than five to one, and were compelled to fight in front and rear 
under every disadvantage. Considering the circumstances, they behaved 
admirably along the whole five miles. Had they been military experts, 
they would doubtless have surrendered without contesting the ground 
inch by inch, since nothing was to be gained by such a sacrifice. The 
struggle, however, taught a lesson to the foe which greatly influenced 
coming events. The loss of the Americans was, all told — killed, wounded, 
and prisoners — about one thousand, of whom three fourths were pris- 
oners.^ Howe reported three hundred and sixty-seven dead. Thus were 
more even of the British than Americans slain. Of American officers 
killed were, Caleb Parry from Pennsylvania, of Stirling's command, a 
gentleman of polish and culture, descended from au ancient and honor- 
able family long seated in North Wales ; Philip Johnston, son of Judge 
Samuel Johnston of New Jersey, a gentleman of education, an officer of 
fine presence, and one of the strongest men in the army, who fell, near 
Sullivan, while leading his men to the charge ; Joseph Jewett of Lyme, 
Connecticut, an officer much beloved, " of elegant and commanding ap- 
pearance, and of unquestionable bravery " ; and Harmanus llutgers Irom 
New York, of the ancient and well-known Rutgers family, whose seat 
was upon the East River near Jones Hill. 

Howe's generals, Clinton, Cornwallis, and Vaughan, are said to have 
pressed for leave to storm at once the fortifications, but he shook his 
head, saying, "Enough has been done for one day." His troops proceeded 
to dine, after which they spread their tents scarcely a mile from the 
Americans, their sentries stationed one fourth of a mile away. Towards 
evening a storm of wind and rain sprung up from the northeast. There 
was little or no sleep in the American camp. They had no tents, uo fires, 
nor any opportunity for cooking, and the men working in the trenches 
were up to their waists in water. The next day there was some 

Auk 28. 

firing between the two camps, but heavy rains kept the enemy 
chiefly under temporary shelter. However Howe was intending to carry 
the lines, whether by assault or direct approach, he was manifestly favored. 

' This statement seems to be absolutely correct. It was Washington's original estimate, 
made from the list of names handed in by the commander of each regiment engaged in the 
fight ; many of these lists are preserved (Force, Fifth Series, Vol. III.), and by compari- 
son with other official reports prove the facts, notwithstanding the widely different account 
given by Howe, and accepted by various historians. 


In the rear of the Americans was a ri\'er half a mile broad swept by swift 
tides. He could, when the wind changed, easily encircle them by a fleet, 
thereby cutting off all connection with New York. 

On the morning of the 29th the rain was still pouring in torrents. 
Neither Washiutjton nor his "enerals had taken since tlie 

Aug. 29. " 

' battle. Should tlie enemy succeed in penetrating the lines, or the 
fleet in commanding the crossing, they were lost. Hence was planned 
and executed the famous retreat from Long Island, one of the most re- 
markable military events in history. 

As .soon as it was resoh-ed to withdraw the troops, boats and every 
species of water-cral't, large and small, upon both sides of Manhattan 
Island to the Harlem Eiver, were impressed into service for the coming 
night, with the utmost despatcli and secrecy. These \\'ere placed under 
the management of John Glover, who commanded a regiment of Marble- 
head fishermen, the best mariners in the world. To prepare the army for 
a general movement without betraying its purpose, orders were issued for 
each regiment to parade with accoutrements at seven o'clock in I'ront of 
their encampments, ready to march at a moment's notice ; the impression 
was given that many of them were to be relieved by battalions from 
Mercer's New Jersey command, and other changes made, while some in- 
feiTed that a night attack upon the enemy was contemplated and hastened 
to make nuncupative wills. During the afternoon such heavy rain fell as 
could hardly be remembered. Washington's anxiety and unceasing vigi- 
lance kept him continually in the sad<lle, drenched and drijiping, without 
having closed his eyes in sleep for forty-eight or more hours. Milflin was 
assigned to the command of the rear-guard, — cliosen men from Hand's, 
Smallwood's, Haslet's, Shee's, Magaw's, and Chester's regiments, who were 
to remain nearest the euemj' to the last. The withdrawal commenced 
with the first deep darkness of the cloudy evening. As one regiment 
moved in silence towards Fulton Ferry, another was changed quietly to 
fill the gap. They tramped through the " mud and mire " willi their 
luggage — guns, ammunition, provisions, "pots and kettles" — upon their 
shoulders, the artillery men dragging cannon, and carts and horses and 
cattle being pushed along with as much celerity as the soft condition of the 
well-soaked soil would allow. There were some vexatious delays ; and 
in the midst of the hushed hurry, in the dead of night, a cannon went off 
(cause unknown) with tremendous roar, startling the Americans, but failing 
to alarm the British. A serious blunder in conveying a verbal message 
also created a whirlwind of excitement among an interested few for a 
trief time. Washington, standing, on the ferry stairs about two o'clock 
in the morning, sent Alexander Scammel, Sullivan's brigade-major, now 


serving as aid to the commauder-in-chief (who had been a law student of 
Sullivan's before the breaking out of the war), to hurry forward tlie 
troops already on the march. Misunderstanding orders, he started 
Milflin with his entire command for the i'eny, where all was in confusion 
owing to the turning of the tide and the inability of the sail-boats to 
make headway. Washington met the party, and in terms indicative of 
acute distress expressed his fear that the mistake had ruined the whole 
scheme. Mifflin and party promptly faced about and reoccupied the 
lines which had been completely vacated for an hour, without discovery 
by the enemy. It was daylight when they were finally summoned to the 
ferry, but a friendly fog came up, so dense that a man could scarcely be 
discerned six yards away ; thus they marched without detection, leaving 
their camp-fires smoking. "Washington refused to step into his barge 
until the entire force had embarked. At seven in the morning 
^^' Howe learned to his chagrin that an army of nine thousand troops, 
with all their munitions of w-ar, had successfully retired from a position 
in front of his victorious legions so near that ordinary sounds could be dis- 
tinctly heard ! However he may have surprised the Americans by his 
night manceuvre of the 27th, he was now as much more surprised as the 
movement of Washington was conducted with greater military skill. 

Yet it was a retreat. And there were plenty of people to murmur and 
comiduin. Disappointment makes men captious. Why was the Jamaica 
Pass lel't unguarded ? Why did Washington go to Brooklyn at all ? Who 
was responsible for the surprise and defeat ? 

Neither was General Howe applauded by England for his apparent 
conquest. Why did he not run up the Hudson and land in the rear of the 
rebels, instead of wasting so much time on Long Island ? And when he 
was engaging the rebels on the 27th, why did not Lord Howe move with 
his fleet into the East Eiver, and thereby end the war ? 

For the next two daj's New York presented a cheerless picture. Wet 
clothes and camp equipage were strewed along the sidewalks in front 
of the houses or stretched in yards to dry. Squads of weary-looking 
soldiers were moving to and fro, but not a sound of drum or fife was heard. 
Men were going home in groups and companies. They were farmers 
chiefly, wlio had left their grain half cut in the fields, and were present 
on short enlistments. Their example was disheartening and contagious. 

The same opinion prevailed throughout the American army as in the 
British coimcils, that there was now little or nothing to prevent Howe fi-om 
landing and extending his lines from river to river across Manhattan 
Island, thereby cooping up the patriots, without means of exit even by the 
sea. The loss of three prominent generals, Sullivan, Stirling, and Wood- 


hull, was depressing in the extreme. The two former were prisoners in the 
British camp. Tiiey were treated with respect, dining daily with the two 
brothers, Lord and General Howe. WoodhuU had been captured on the 
evening of the 28th at Carpenter's tavern, near Jamaica, wjiere he had taken 
refuge from a thunder-storm. He had written to the Convention on the same 
morning that his men (less than one hundred) and horses were worn out 
with fatigue, that Smith and Itemson could not join him, communication 
being cut oft' by the enemy, and that he must retire unless he had assist- 
ance ; concluding his letter with the remark, " I hope the Convention 
does not expect me to make brick without straw." He was surprised by 
a party of several hundred of the enemy sent out in pursuit of him, and 
surrendered his sword ; after which he attempted to escape over a board 
fence in the darkness, but was discovered by the sentries and severely 
wounded through blows inflicted upon his head and arms with a cutlass 
and bayonet, from which injuries he died three weeks later.^ He was 
allowed to send for his wife, at the same time requesting her to bring 
with her all the money in her possession and all that she could procure, 
which he distributed among the American prisoners to alleviate their suf- 
ferings — the last generous act of his useful and honored life. 

Washington attempted to I'estore order and confidence by reorganizing 
the army. It was obvious that the city was untenable. The enemy 
were strengthening the works on Brooklyn Heights. Their heavy vessels 
wei'e anchored near GoA'ernoi's I.sland, within easy gunshot of the city, 
the American garrison at that jioint and at Eed Hook having been 
safely withdrawn the night after the battle.^ They were also throwing 

' Jones's History of New Yvrl: Ourimj t/te Hevo!-ulioimn/ Jl'ar, Vol. II. 3.32 ; Aotes to Jones's 
Hisloryhy Edward F. De Laiicey, with contemporary docunieiits, i-tc. Vol. II. 592-612. 
A careful examiiiatioii of the various btatcuieuts coiiceriiing the capture, injuries, and death 
of General Woodhull leads to the opinion expressed in the te.xt. Oliver De Lancey, Jr., was 
an officer of the 17tli Light Dragoons, tlie capturing party, and has by a succession of 
wiitei's been charged with indicting tlie wounds from which Woodhnll died. It is claimed 
by his family that he always indignantly denied the accusation. Thompson and others write 
that he came up in time to save Woodhnll from instant death. Judge Thomas Jones, author 
of the recently jmblished history which throws new light upon these incidents, was a contem- 
porary writer, lived on Long Island, his sister was the wife of Ilichard Floyd, first cousin 
of Jlrs. Woodhnll, and the two ladies were warm friends before and after the general's death ; 
thus he had every opportunity of knowing the ciri'unistances. He was a judge of the Supreme 
Court of New York, as indeed had been his fatlier liefore him, and the head of the Jones 
family of Queen's County : his wife was Anne, daughter of Licutenaut-Covernor James De 
Lancey — sister of Mrs. William Walton — and first cousin of the Oliver De Lancey mentioned. 

^ Jones, censurhig the F.uglisli generals, writes : " In the evening of the same day (unac- 
countable as it is) a detachment of the rebel ai-my went from New York with a number of 
boats and carried oil' the tioops, the stores, artillery and provisions without the least inter- 
ruption whatever, though General Howe's whole army lay within a mile of the place, and his- 
brother, the Ailmiral, with his lleet, covered the bay at a little distance below the island." 


lip tbitificiitions on the Long Island shore at intervals as far as the moutli 
of the Harlem Eiver. On the 2d of September, just at evening, 
"'' ' a forty-gun man-of-war swept between Governor's Island and 
Long Island, past the batteries on the East River, which might as well 
liave fired at the moon for all the harm tliey could do her, and anchored 
in Turtle Bay, near the foot of what is now Forty-seventh Street. 
Through the skillful attack of a detachment of Washington's artillery, 
the ship was compelled to change lier position to the shelter of Black- 
well's Island. Several war vessels suddenly made their debut in the 
Sound, having gone round Long Island. Visions of red-hot bullets and 
showers of shells in the streets of Xew York dismayed even the brave. 
Eesistauce would be impossible should tlie enemy come upon the city 
from the North, with men-of-war encircling the Battery. 

A situation more delicate and full of risk could hardly be imagined. 
The evacuation and burning of New York was discussed freely as a 
matter of military policy. Washington submitted to Congress the ques- 
tion " If we are obliged to abandon the town, shall it stand as winter- 
quarters for the enemy ? " on the very day that the British war vessel 
made her successful trip up tlie East River. Congress replied that " no 
damage should be done to the city of New York, as it could undouljt- 
edly be recovered even should the enemy obtain possession for a time." 
There was no cessation of exertion with the spade and pickaxe to render 
Manhattan Island a stronghold ; and the army, disposed in three divisions, 
under Putnam, Spencer, and Heath, stretched its attenuated line from the 
Battery to Harlem and Kingsbridge, Putnam guarding tlie city proper 
and the East River approaches to Fifteenth Street. All military stores, 
however, not in actual immediate demand, were being quietly removed, 
as fast as conveyances could be procured, to a post partially fortified at 
Dobb's Ferry. 

Days slipped by and the enemy made no further advance. They were 
fearful of precipitating the destruction of the richest city in America. 
And as Washington's appeal to Congress and its response were not borne 
on the wings of the wind, or in coaches propelled by steam, there was 
ample time for the expression of much diverse opinion among the military 
and civil authorities, before the sense of the supreme government was 
known. Putnam urged an immediate retreat from the city, as one por- 
tion of the army might at any moment be cut off before the other could 
support it, the extremities of the lines being sixteen miles apart. Mercer 
said, " We should keep New York, if possible, as the acquiring of it will 
give eclat to the arms of Great Britain, afford the soldiers good quarters, 
and furnish a safe harbor for their fleet." Greene, i'rom his sick-bed, wrote : 


" Abandon, by all means, the city and island. They should not be put in 
competition with the general interests of America. There is no object to 
be obtained by holding any position below Kiugsbridge. I would Imrn 
the city and suburbs to deprive the enemy of barracking their whole 
array together and of profiting by a general mai-ket." Scott was of the 
same mind, although the city contained his entire possessions. Ueed 
wrote to his wife, on the 6th, " We are still here, in a posture somewhat 
awkward. We think (at least I do) that we cannot stay, and yet we do 
not know how to go, so that we may be properly said to be Ijetween lia\\k 
and buzzard." John Jay had long since advocated the burning of the 
city ; and Wolcott quoted precedents where invading armies had been 
starved and ruined by the laying waste of the countries upon which 
they had built their hopes. Heath, Spencer, and George Clinton were 
unwilling that a place should be abandoned which had been fortified with 
such great cost and labor, and never wavered for a moment in their 
advice to hold the cit}-. 

On the 7th a council of general officers met at Washington's head- 
quarters, at the Eichmond Hill House, to decide upon some general course 
to be adopted. The majority voted for defense, believing that Congress 
wished the point to be maintained at every hazard. On the 10th Con- 
gress resolved to leave the occupation or abandonment of the city entirely 
at Washington's discretion. The next day Greene and six brigadiers 
petitioned Washington to call a council of war to reconsider the decision 
of the 7th. He did .so on the 12th, when ten generals voted to evacuate, 
and three — Heath, Spencer, and George Clinton — -to defend. 

This was but one of innumerable instances in which George Clinton 
displayed his' natural boldness of character and unflinching nerve. He 
was a man whose iron will ne"\'er failed him iu an emergency. He was 
called arbitrary and cruel. The cause may be traced to the school iu 
which he found himself He had no pity for those whom he regarded 
as open enemies, and he treated them with severity. And yet, per- 
sonally, his heart was tender and kind. Henceforward, during the next 
twenty-six years, we shall find him a conspicuous figure in the annals of 
New York. He became the first governor after the organization of the 
State, and, in reference to those who would have guided the British on 
to victory, an avenging power. " Not one of the men on the American 
side iu the Eevolution," writes Edward Floyd De Lancey, "great and 
brilliant as many of them were, could ever have retained, as he did, 
the governorship of New York by successive elections for eighteen years." 
Mrs. George Clinton was a lady of Dutcli ]iarentage, well educated, and 
of exceptional strength and balance nf eliaractei'. She was about his own 



age. Her father was a man of influence and fortune, prominent in the 
affairs of Kingston. Her brother, Chri-stopher Tappan, was one of the 
trustees of Kingston and clerk of the corporation. The Tappan family 
were related to nearly all the people of importance in the vicinity of 
Kingston. Thus George Clinton's early political life began under favor- 
able auspices, and bis legal acumen and strong common-sense enabled 

Governor George Clinton. Mrs. George Clinton. 

[Fac-simile copy of miniature portraits executed when the governor was about forty years of age ; 
in possession of his granddauyhter. Mrs. Cornelius Van Rensselaer.] 

him to master many an after problem without wasting time in consulta- 
tion. He said councils made men cowards. In adopting the surest and 
most certain means to attain his objects, he became the terror of all the 
adversaries of the Eevolution, but even they rarely accused him of injus- 
tice, and never of revenge.^ 

While these events were transpiring in New York, Lord Howe was 
taxing his ingenuity to devise some method by which he could negotiate 
a peaceful adjustment of the strife. He had no disposition to destroy New 

' See (Vol. II.) page 74. Charles Clinton, the father of George Clinton, removed to 
America in 1729, landing at Cape Cod ; and in 1730 formed a permanent and flourishing set- 
tlement in Ulster County, New York, which he calleil Little Britain. He was of English 
descent ; his grandfather was William Clinton, an officer in the army of Charles I., one of 
the members of the famous family of the Earls of Lincoln : after the dethronement of his 
monarch he went to France, thence to Spain, and to Scotland where he married a lady of the 
family of Kennedy ; after which lie took up his abode in Ireland ; his only son, James, while 
in England to recover the patrimonial estate married the daughter of an army officer. Charles 
Clinton, the son of James, born 1690, married Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander Denniston. 
He was a man of education and property, built a substantial home in Little Britain, pos- 
sessed a well-selected library, became a surveyor of note, a judge of Common Pleas for the 
County of Ulster, and colonel of the militia, doing good service with his regiment at the 


York, nor to proceed harshly against a people whose independent notions 
he admired and honored. He was hampered by his instructions, unable 
to shape a message which would be accepted by Congress or by the com- 
mander-in-chief of its army ; thus he took advantage of his prisoner, 
General Sullivan, sending him, on parole, with a verbal message explana- 
tory of his wishes as well as lack of power to treat with Congress as a 
legal body, and earnestly requesting a conference with some of its mem- 
bers as private persons. 

Sullivan reached Philadelphia September 2, and made known his 
errand. Congress was for a time divided in opinion. Hot debates occu- 
pied fuU three days, before Sullivan was on his return journey to the 
British camp, conveying an answer to this effect : " Congress cannot with 
propriety send any of its members in a private capacity to confer with 
Lord Howe ; but, ever desirous for peace, they will send a committee of 
their body to learn whether he has any authority to treat with persons 
authorized by Congress for that purpose, and to hear such propositions as 
he may think fit to make." The committee chosen were Dr. Franklin, 
John Adams, and Edward Paitledge. Several letters were exchanged 
between Lord Howe and Dr. Franklin in relation to a place of meeting, 
which was fi.xed finally at the Old Billopp manor-house on Staten Island, 
opposite Perth Amboy. 

It was then a two days' journey from Philadelphia to Amboy. The 
committee started on the 9th, John Adams on horseback, and Dr. Franklin 
and Rutledge in old-fashioned chairs. The taverns along the way were 
so full of soldiery en route for the defense of New York, that these digni- 
taries could hardly obtain admission. The second night they staid in 
New Brunswick, Franklin and Adams being obliged to share the same 
bed, in a little narrow chamber with one small window. Adams was an 
invalid, and afraid of the night air. " Don't shut the window," exclaimed 
Franklin, as he saw Adams with his hand on the sash, " we shall he suf- 
focated." " I cannot run the risk of a cold," said Adams, bringing down 
the sash in an imperative manner. " But the air within the chamber 

capture of Fort Frontenac. He was, in short, a man endowed with many talents, and of 
great dignity and respectability. He had seven children, but the two sons best known to 
fame were James, horn 1736, and George, born 1739. James married first, Mary, daughter of 
Egbert De "Witt ; second, Mrs. Mary Gray. The third son of James Clinton and Mary 
DeWitt was the famous De Witt Clinton. George Clinton (first Governor of New York, and 
for eight years Vice-President of the United States) married, in 1769, Cornelia Tappan of 
Kingston, and their children were, Catherine, who married General Pierre Van Cortlandt, 
son of Lieutenant-Governor Pierre Van Cortlandt ; Cornelia Tappan, who married Citizen 
Edmond Charles Genet ; George, born in 177S, who married Anna, daughter of Hon. William 
Floyd ; Elizabeth, who married Mntthias B. Tallmadge ; Martha W., who died young ; Maria, 
who married Dr. Stephen Beekman. 


will soon be, and indeed is now, worse than that without doors. Come, 
open the window and come to bed, and I will convince you. I believe 
you are not acquainted with my theory of colds ? " "I have read some of 
your letters, which are inconsistent with my experience," said Adams, 
opening the window, and leaping into bed, curious to hear an elucidation 
of what seemed to him a paradox. The philosopher commenced a lecture 
whicli lulled his audience into repose, and just as he was dwelling upon 
the amount of air per minute which the human body destroys by respira- 
tion and perspiration, and showing, by a train of subtle reasoning, that 
through the breatliing of impure air we imbibe the real cause of colds, 
not from without but from witliin doors, he fell asleep himself The 
next morning they reached the beautiful shore opposite Staten Island at 
an early hour. Lord Howe's barge was there to receive them, and a gen- 
tlemanly officer told them he was to remain subject to their orders, 
as hostage for their safe return. " This is childish," said Adams, 
turning to Franklin ; " we want no such pledge." Franklin and Eutledge 
were of the same mind. They accordingly told the officer that if he held 
himself under their direction, he must go back to his superior with them 
in the barge, to which he bowed assent, and they all embarked. Howe 
walked toward the shore as the barges approached, and perceiving his officer 
with the committee, cried out: "Gentlemen, you make me a very high 
compliment, and you may depend upon it I will consider it the most 
sacred of things." 

He shook hands warmly with Franklin, w^ho introduced his com- 
panions, and they all moved towards the house, between the lines of sol- 
diery which had been drawn up so as to form a lane, conversing pleasantly 
together. One of the largest apartments had been converted, with moss, 
vines, and branches, into a delightful bower, and here a collation of " good 
claret, good bread, cold ham, tongues, and mutton " was immediately served. 
After this Lord Howe opened the conference, expressing his attachment to 
America, and his gratitude for the honors bestowed upon his accomplished 
elder brother, who was killed at Lake George in the expedition against 
the French eighteen years before, declaring that " should America fall he 
should feel and lament it like the loss of a brother." Franklin bowed 
with graceful ease, and replied, smiling blandly, " ily lord, we will use 
our utmost endeavors to spare you that mortification." Howe stated his 
position in flowing language, and asked the gentlemen if they were 
willing to lay aside their distinction as members of Congress, and con- 
verse as individuals upon the outline of a plan to stay the calamities of 
war. They assented ; Adams exclaiming, with characteristic impetu- 
osity, " Your lordship may consider me in what light you please. Indeed, 


I should be willing to consider myself for a few moments in any character 
which would be agreeable to your lordship, tuw^J^ that of a British subject." 
The conversation was conducted as among friends for four hours. But 
it came to nothing, except so far as it strengthened the patriots. Howe 
was found 'to be wholly devoid of authority to treat with the colonies in 
their present condition. And the committee were only commi.ssioned to 
obtain this knowledge. Neither party could make propositions or prom- 
ises. They separated with the utmost show of courtesy, Howe saying, 
as he bade them adieu, " I am sorry, gentlemen, that you have had the 
trouble of coming so far to so little jjurpose." 

To a man of Howe's temperament the situation at this moment must 
have been one of torture. He was sad and silent the remainder of the 
day. The ne.xt morning industry in every department of the British 
army indicated a speedy movement upon Xew York. While the com- 
mittee were traveling through New Jersey dust slowly back to Diila- 
delphia, discoursing at intervals upon the lack of discipline among the 
troops they encountered at the inns, Xew York was in a ferment. The 
news had already Ijegun to fly from mouth to mouth that the city was to 
be evacuated. Horses, vehicles, and water-craft were employed in transfer- 
ring military equipments and stores to Kingsbridge. It is said that nine- 
teen twentieths of the inhabitants had already removed from the town, but 
there were still enough left to cause great embarrassment. Some would 
remain in any event, partly from want of means to remove, or a place of 
refuge, and jsartly from a sense of coming protection. But others hurriedly 
prepared to abandon their homes and go into e.xile. On the 13th four 
sliips sailed past the American batteries, keeping up an incessant fire, and 
anchored in the East liiver. Six thousand of the British were already 
quartered upon the islands near the mouth of the Harlem Paver, and 
ere sunset of the 14th were joined In' .several thousand additional troops. 
An immediate landing at Harlem or ilorrisauia was predicted. AVash- 
ington sprang into liis saddle as soon as the messenger came with this 
last intelligence, and rode in liot haste to Harlem Heights. 

Chroniclers of the times catalogued the events of these two or three 
days as they would an invoice of crockery : " Nothing remarkable hap- 
pened ; still getting ready to retreat." Like some portraits, the drawing is 
chiefly in outline without color or shading. Yet the British were changing 
position and neariug the shore on Long Island. Their guns and those of 
the ships in the East River were heard continually. Citizens and sol- 
diers were running hither and yon with pale faces, performing their 
allotted duties with nerN'ous energy. Carts were laden as fast as pro- 
cured, and driven hurriedly to boats or over the long tedious roads to the 


North. Effects were swiftly packed and households scattered. Forts 
were, as far as practicable, dismantled. Bells were removed from the 
churches and public buildings and secreted. Brass knockers were taken 
i'rom the doors of the houses (by order of the Convention) weighed, 
valued, and registered, then deposited for safe-keeping in Newark, New 
Jersey. Several bodies of troojDs marched to the upper part of Manhattan. 
Washington took supper on Saturday night (the 14th) at the Apthorpe 
jMansion, where at a late hour the expedition of Nathan Hale into the 
enemy's camp for trustworthy information was planned. 

Sunday morning dawned upon a tired city. There had been no ces- 
sation of labor during the night. The removal of the sick and 
wounded, numbering several thousand, had consumed much time, 
and disheartening delays had resulted from the scarcity of j^roper con- 
veyances. Yet everything thus far had been conducted with consum- 
mate method, and men unschooled in war had exhibited the self-control 
of veterans. With the rising of the sun a fresh source of alarm was 
visible. Three ships of war were sailing defiantly by the Battery into 
the Hudson Eiver. Nash writes, "They fired smartly at the town." 
Eev. Mr. Shewkirk said one ball struck the North Church ; and that it 
■vvas " unsafe to walk the streets." It was not known where these ships 
would anchor, but they were presumably destined to meet the line upon 
the western shore which the British were about to throw across the 
island above the city. Of course there could be no further removal of 
army stores by water. 

Two roads intersected Manhattan lengthwise ; of which the " Old 
Boston Eoad " on the general line of Third Avenue, and bearing 
west of Fifth Avenue by a crooked way through McGowan's Pass, was 
the grand highway. The Bloomingdale road, a continuation of Broad- 
way, leaned towards the Hudson after reaching Sixtieth Street, and 
wound along the picturesque region of hills and vales known by the 
beautiful descriptive name of Bloomingdale, past the Apthorpe IMansion, 
terminating as a legal highway at Adam Hoagland's house, about One 
Hundred and Fifteenth Street, — although it was continued through his 
estate as a farm-road to Manhattanville. It was connected with the 
old Boston or Kingsbridge road by a narrow public way from Hoagland's 
bouse, running nearly at right angles. These two chief thoroughfares 
were intersected at various points by local roads, private avenues to 
property, and farmer's lanes. 

Attention was soon diverted from the ships in the North Eiver to 
motions in the East Eiver. Five men-of-war suddenly spread their 
■wings and anchored within fifty yards of the American breastworks at 


Kip's Ba}' (near Thiity-t'uuitli Street) and commenced a ■well-directed 
and incessant cannonading to " scour tlie grounds " in that vicinity. 
The occupants of Kip's mansion took refuge in tlie cellar. Presently 
eighty-four flat-bottomed boats laden with troops in bright scarlet drilled 
into view from Newtown Creek, giving the broad bosom of the ri^■er the 
appearance of a clover-bed. This brilliant scene was watched by Scott 
and his New-Yorkers on the Stuyvesant estate near Fifteenth Street, and 
by Wadsworth and Selden with their forces at Twenty-third Street. 
Putnam's division was ordered to retreat at once from the lower town, 
but, although abandoning heavy cannon and a rpiantity of provision, 
were too seriously encumljered with families and baggage to move expe- 
ditiously, and Would certainly be captured unless the landing could be 
delayed ; hence Parsons and Fellows were sent with their brigades on a 
run to support Douglass with his few militia-men at Kip's Bay. They 
were just in time to see the first company of British troops from the 
flotilla ascend the slope, while thousaiuls were ready to follow in their 
footsteps ; and also to witness the flight of the soldiers who manned the 
works. This was hardly cowardice, although it has been so stigmatized 
by military officers and historical writers ever since that memorable 
morning. It was well known that the city was not to be defended. 
Had such a handful of troops opened fire upon the enemy it would have 
been a mere exhibition of foolhardiness, as useless as unjustifiable. Noth- 
ing was to be gained by it. Douglass gave the order to retreat, but not 
luitil it became imjiossible to remain in the works, which were acknowl- 
edged ly all ])arties the least defensible of any along the whole East 
Eiver .shore. Obliged to cross an unprotected space "scoured by cannon- 
balls and grape-.shot," the men dispersed, running swiftly toward the Old 
Boston or Post IJoad, the enemy firing and jiursuing them. 

Near Thirty-si.xth Street and Fourth Avenue stood the residence of 
Eobert Murray amid extensive grounds, — designated on the map as 
" Inclenberg." To the north of it a cross-road, nearly on the line of 
Forty-third Street, connected the Old Boston with the Bloomuigdale 
road. A cornfield belonging to the Murray estate flourished on the site 
of the pre.seut Grand Central Depot, extending east to the junction of the 
roads, — the Old Boston Road here being about on the line of Lexington 
Avenue. At this point Washington on liis four-mile gallop from the 
Apthorpe Mansion encountered the men in retreat from Kip's Bay. They 
were in dust and confusion, and in tlie liasty jiidgment of the moment 
"in disgrace." Here akso came up the almost lireathless recruits of Par- 
sons and Fellows, who had scarcely halted in their run from Cnrlear's 
Hook, and who had been nearly headed off before thev could si)ring 


into the cornfield, and through it reach the cross-road. Tlie red foe 
surging over the bluff could be seen through the ibliage already in 
possession of the higliway. Washington in a frenzy of excitement rode 
up and down trying to rally the troops into line to check the advance 
of the British, in which he was gallantly aided by Parsons and other 
officers. But the attempt was fruitless. And having not a moment to 
lose he ordered the troops to continue their retreat, and spurred away 
to provide for the safety of Harlem Heights, as it was possible for the 
enemy to land in that vicinity at the same time as elsewhere. 

Meanwhile Scott, Selden, and otiiers on the East River below Kip's 
Bay saw the wisdom of immediate escape, since the British would 
naturally stretch across the island above them without delay. Scott 
reached Putnam's moving column on the Bloomingdale road with his 
conunand in safety ; but Selden and party collided with a body of 
Hessians on their way to the city by the Boston road, near the corner of 
Twenty-third Street and Third Avenue, and after some sliarp Hring in 
which four Hessians were killed and eight wounded, lie was made prisoner.^ 

1 Hoivc to Germain, Si'pteinber 21, 1776. Colonel Samuel Selden was one of the sub- 
stantial and acconiiilished men of his generation. Possessing a large estate on tlie banks of 
the Connecticut, a homestead of his own erection (in 1760) which, bearing the traces of good 
taste and the refined knowledge of how to live comfortably, is still standing, the father of tliir- 
teen children, and past fifty, with injiiaired licalth, he ignored all personal interests in devo- 
tion to the common cause, and actcepted a colonelcy of Conneitticut levies after — like Silliman, 
Douglass, and others — first advancing the funds to equip liis regiment. He was the son 
of Samuel and Deborah Dudley Selden, and the grandson and great-grandson of the two 
Governors Dudley of Massachusetts, who it is well known were of the best blood of England. 
He was born January 11, 1723. After his capture lie was conveyed to the Citv Hall in 
Wall Street and confined in the "Debtors' prison" on the upper Hoor. But, prostrated by 
the heat and exertions of the day, he was attacked with fever, from which lie died on Friday, 
October 11. Some British officers, learning of his illness, caused him to be conveyed to more 
comfortable ([uarters in the " Old Provost," and he was attended by Dr. Thatcher, a British 
surgeon, receiving every possilile kindness. He was buried iu the Brick Church yard, where 
the building of tlie Neia York Times now stands, with more honors than weie usually ac- 
corded to prisoners-of-war, whatever their rank ; all the American officers who were prisoners 
at the time wei-e indulged with liberty to attend his funeral. His wife was Elizabeth Ely, 
daughter of Richard Ely of Lyme. His son, Richard Ely Si-lden, born 1759, was the father 
of the wife of Henry Matson Waite, Chief Justice of Connecticut. Thus the present Chief 
Justice of the United States, Morri-sou R. Waite, is the great-grandson of Colonel Selden. 
And Mrs. Morrison R. Waite is a great-granddaughter of the .same through her fether .Samuel 
Selden Warner, whose mother wa.s the sixth daughter of Colonel Selden. Judge .Samuel Lee 
Selden, Judge Henry R. .Selden, Hon. Dudley Selden, Hon. Lyman Trumbull, General Mc- 
Dowell, and Professor Eaton of Yale, are among his descendants. Presiilent Eliphalet Nott 
of Union College, and Rev. Dr. Samuel Nott, were the sons of Colonel .Selden's sister Deborah, 
who married Stephen Nott about 1752. Rev. Dr. Eliphalet Nott Potter, now President of 
Union College, Rev. Dr. Henry C. Potter, Rector of Grace Church, Hon. Clarkson Nott 
Potter, and Howard Potter are grandsons of President Eliphalet and Sarah Benedict Nott. 
The old Selden estate in Hadlyme (formerly a jiart of the town of Lyme), which belonged to 


One of his officers, Eliphalet Holmes, a man of great physical strength, 
knocked down two Hessians wlio were attempting to capture him, and 
escaped. John P. Wjdlys, Wadsworth's brigade-major, was taken }»ris- 
ouer in this encounter, and fifty or more men. ' Gay, with his command, 
had passed the Boston roatl, down " Lover's Lane " (now Twenty-first 
Street) to the Bloomingdale road, and bej'ond, before the Hessians 
reached the point of intersection. Silliman's brigade, left to guard the 
city until the other troojis could be withdrawn, and Knox with detach- 
ments of artillery, were now in the greatest danger. About thirty minutes 
after the main column, with its women, children, hangers-on, household 
stuff, and camp utensils, had passed out of sight on the Broadway road to 
the north of Walter Eutlierford's house, Silliman received orders to follow 
as far as Bayard's Hill fort, just above Canal Street. Here he saw the 
British land at Kip's Bay, and supposing the roads closed and departure 
impossible, prepared for a vigorous At this very instant Put- 
nam, galloping forward, met Washington at the corner of the cross aiad 
Bloomingdale road.s, now Forty-third Street and Broadway, and paused Wn- 
hasty consultation. It was clear no stand could be made on ilurray Hill. 
Had the British acted promptly, all the Americans south of Forty-second 
Street at that hour might have fallen into their hands with ease. A few 
minutes later Putnam was fiving on his foaming steed toward the city 
to meet and hurry on the column which as yet had only worked its 
weary way into the region below Bleecker Street ; on his route he encoun- 
tered a portion of Wadsworth's command, and Scott with his retreating 
forces from Stuyvesant Cove. 

For a conijilete view of the stirring scenes of this da}', distances must 
be considered.^ A ride from City Hall to Murray Hill, not less than 
three miles, occupied as much time then as now, and it was not yet 
noon. Officers only were mounted ; the soldiers were all on foot. 

Colonel Seidell at tile time of his ileatli, has been in the possession of the SelJen family one 
hundreil and eighty or more years. It is now tlie property of William Ely Selden. 

1 See map (Vol. 11. 68). Few of the cross-roads mentioned in the te.xt were then public 
thoroughfares, which accounts for their omission upon the maps of the period ; but nearly all the 
localities of interest, with their relative positions, can be traced witli tlie eye. The authorities 
upon which the text describing the incidents of the 15th of September, 1776, is based, number 
not less than eighty ; of these are the various accounts from the pens of participants and 
eye-witnesses, many letters having recently been cxhuniej from family archives. Tlie " Kip's 
Bay Affair," with the light of a century turned strongly upon it, resolves itself into a justifi- 
able retreat from an overwhelming force ; and the "panic," which has furnislied op])ortunity 
for writers and artists to embellish fiction until it has become grotcs(]ue, seems to have been 
the natural result of extraonliiiary exposure. As for the story of Washington's wrath, there 
is little doubt of his having given expression to language more forcible than gentle as he came 
upon his demoralizeil troops ; but there is not a shadow of evidence that he threw Iiis hat upon 
the ground, or cxpu.sed himself to sliarii-shooters, much less to the bayonets of the enemy. 


watjons were insufficient for the transfer of families, those in use were 
indiscriniinutely overladen, and the cannon were chietiy dragged by 
hand. The day was excessively liot, the roads were darkened liy 
clouds of dust, the people as well as the soldiers on the march had been 
without sleep for twenty-four or more hours, and deaths occurred Ironi 
time to time by the wayside from over-exertion and the drinking of 
water from cool springs. 

Aaron Burr, Putnam's aide-de-camp, dashed towards the city in advance 
of the general to extricate Sillinian, who protested that retreat was out of 
the question. Knox was of the same mind, and disposed to fight to the 
bitter end. Alexander Hamilton, with his company of New York artil- 
lery men, was eager to defeml the post. But Burr claimed to know 
every inch of ground on Manhattan Island, and was confident he could 
pilot the party through farms and by-ways, and they finally started. 
Nash, who was present, writes, " The enemy headed us so that we who 
were left were obliged to make our escape as well as we couU, but they 
did not take many of our men." Overtaking the column, now comprising 
about three thousand five hundred persons, and stretching two miles, 
Silliman's party were formed into a rear-guard. Putnam, Silliman, and 
other officers were on the constant lookout — riding furiously i'rom 
front to rear and from rear to front — at the same time stimulating 
an effort for increased speed by encouraging words and their own 
coolness and intrepidity. The slight, graceful figure of Burr was also 
everywhere conspicuous. He conducted the train to a road west of 
liighth Avenue from Fifteenth Street north, and keeping in the woods, 
often countermarching, or crooking through irregular lanes to avoid being 
discovered by the shij^piug in the North River, the long slowly rao\-ing 
train actually passed Murray Hill within a half mile of the British army 
as they M'ere complacently eating their midday meal ; the men on the 
grass in the trim grounds of the Murrays, and tlie officers, Howe, Clinton, 
Cornwallis, and Governor Tryon, partaking of generous hospitalities with- 
in the mansion. Mrs. Murray, the mother of Liudley Murray, the gram- 
marian, was personally known to Tryon ; he introduced the British 
generals, who, charmed with the luxury of her cool parlors and the 
tempting wine with which she bountifully supplied them, loitered in gay 
and trivial conversation for two hours. Thatcher, relating the incident 
in his journal, says, " It has since become almost a common saying among 
our officers, that Mrs. Murray saved this part of the American army." As 
soon as the second division of the British under Percy bad crossed from 
Long Island, and could support the troops posted at " Inclenberg," a detach- 
ment was sent to capture a corps of Americans descried about three miles 


distant, near McGowan's Pass, which proved to be tlie regiments of Mifflin 
anil Siiiallwoad sent by Washington to cover Putnam's escape, and who 
retired towards Hark^m Heights as the enemy approached. The cohimn 
of Putnam, coming down through the Hoagland farm, passed the junction 
of the r>loomiugdale and Kingsbridge roads, as these British troops ap- 
peared on tlie right. Humphrey says : " So critical indeed was our situa- 
tion and so narrow the gap by which we escaped, that tlie instant we had 
passed, the enemy closed it by extending their line from river to river." 
They attacked the tired column with spirit, but Silliman with three hun- 
dred men beat them off. In this skirmish Hamilton, who had marched 
the whole distance in the rear of the line, aided materially witli his 
cannon ; Sergeant Hoyt, in charge of the e.xtreme rear gun, dragged it to 
an eminence by the roadside and fired it continuously until the whole 
train had safely rounded the point of danger. Hoyt was oua of those in 
the last boat (discovered and tired upon by the British) in the notable 
Long Island retreat, and was chosen for this post of exceptional peril 
because of his unflinching nerve and heroic mettle. 

It began to rain towards evening, and then a cold wind came up ; 
and when at a late hour Putnam's party reached the encampment on the 
heights, "above the Eight mile stone" they were not onl)- worn out wiih 
the march of over thirteen winding miles, but drenched and chilled to 
the bone. They had lust knapsacks, baggage, hope, and confidence, and, 
grieving for the artillery and costly works sacrificed, made their beds 
upon the wet ground, the threatening clouds their only covering. 

Washington remained at the A))tliorpe Mansion striving to cover his 
anxiety under an aspect of stoical serenity until the enemy were in sight, 
then rode to the ]\Iorris House on Harlem Heights. The British soon 
stretched from Horn's Hook (Ninety-second Street) to McGowan's Pass, 
and across the beautiful hills to the northwest, their lei't flank resting on 
the Hudson. Howe and his officers rode leisurely up from Murray Hill 
and ibund a well-cooked supper awaiting them at Apthorpe's ; while their 
warriors borrowed sheep and geese at randum and made themselves com- 
fortable for the night. The city meanwhile was occupied b)^ a division 
of the army of King George. Feri'v-bcjats had crossed to the Jersey 
shore during the day, many jiensons escaping by that source who were 
unable to leave with Putnam ; among was Hugh Gaine, editor, 
compositdr. and publisher of The A'civ York Gazette and Wcelii/ Mercury, 
who, with his press, took c^uarters in Newark, New Jersey ; and citizens 
in hiding returned to New York by the same means to welcome the 
British. At evening the passage was closed. Thus Manhattan slept. 

Before daylight next morning AVashington was in the saddle. His 


fii'st important act was to send Knowlton witli a picked company of one 
hundred and twenty men to leani tlie position of, and, if jiracticable, take 
tlie enemy's advanced guard. The second was to visit the various en- 
campments to " put matters iu a pro])er situation " should the British 
come on as expected. • Knowlton from near headquarters descended the 
ravine, now Audubon Park, leadiu" his nieu aloncr tlie low shore of the 
river to Matjte Davits Fly,^ and beyond into the woods that skirted 
the bank west of Vanderwater's Heights, until parallel with the left 
flank of the vanguard of the enemy undei- General Leslie. Here he was 
discovered at sunrise, and attacked by four hundred of the British light 
infantry ; he allowed them to come within six rods before giving orders 
to fire, and after eight rounds apiece, he commanded a retreat which 
decoyed the adversary, in the language of Sir Henry Clinton, " into a 
scrape." 3 One of Knowltou's otficers wrote, "we retreated two miles 
and a half and then made a stand, and sent for reinforcements which 
we soon received, and drove the dogs near three miles." There is no 
discrepancy between this statement and the report of De Heister, who 
said, "They retired into their entrenchments to entice the pursuers deeper 
into the wood." 

Confusion as to localities has resulted from the blending of two distinct 
encounters in the descriptions of the battle of Harlem Heights. The 
first was at sunrise, occupying but a few minutes. The second com- 
menced between ten and eleven o'clock in the forenoon and continued 
nearly four hours.* It was the former to which Lewis Morris referreil in 
writing to his father: "Monday morning an advanced party. Colonel 
Knowlton's regiment, was attacked by the 6nemy upon a height a little 
to the .southwest of Dayes' Taveru." And it was the second and chief 
battle which the j)en-iind-ink sketch furnished the Convention shortly 
afterward, aud subsequently presented by John Sloss Hobart to Eev. 
Dr. Stiles, President of Yale College, describes as " beginning near the 
Ten mile stone and ending near the Eight mile stone." "Washington's 
headquarters at the Morris house was three and one half miles from 

^ JVasliingtons Letters. 

^ Matjte Davits Flj' w.ts a well-known pnblio landmark (a meadow,) which for a century 
had been mentioned in charters, jiatents, deeds, and Acts of the Legislature, and laid down 
with the utmost precision by actual survey. 

' Manuscript note in .Sir Henry Clinton's private co[iy of Stethnmi's History of the Ameri- 
can JVar, in possession of John Carter Brown, Providence, R. I. ; De Linieey's iVofc.s to Jones's 
UUlory ; Donop's Aceoimt ; Journal of De Heister : Baiirineistcr's Re/iort ; Stewart's Sketches 
of the HighUindcrs ; Sir William Howe to Lord Germain, Sept. 21, 1776. 

' General Gold Selleck Sillimaii to his wife, Sept. 17, 1776 (original in possession of his 
granddaughter, Mrs. Oliver P. Hubbard), Jones's History of New York in the Hevolution, 
Vol. I. De Lancey's Notes, 606, 607. Jay, 57. 



Howe's headquarters at the Apthorpe Mansion. The army of each was 
thrtiwu out ill iVuiit for a iinie ami three quarters, Washington's advanced 
guard under Greene being in the wuods above, and his pickets upon the 
'■ Point of liocks " which overlooked Manhattanville, while Howe's were 
u p o 11 Vander water's 
Heights, opposite. 
During the interval 
between the two bat- 
tles the light infantry 
of Leslie were silently 
pushing their way 
after Knowlton along 
the low shore of the 

" As vet no forti- 
fications had been 
erected across Harlem 
Heights," wrote Sil- 
1 i m a n , — and also 
George Clinton, — 
" except a mere begin- 
ning near the Morris 
house, and three small 
redoubts about half- 
way to Manhattan- 
ville " ; from the first 
gi'ay dawn he had a 
large Ibrce of men 
employed at this lat- 
ter point with spades 
and shovels throwing 
earth into the trench- 
es ; ere night-fall lines 
were completed across 
the island, and subse- 
quently strengthened. 
Washingt(m galloped 

to Greene's encamp- sketch of Battle-Field, Harlem Heighfs. 

ment, where, seated [Showing the lel.itlve |«Kiti.iii nf tli^ t\m Imstilc luuiies Brit.iin 
aiul Aiiienea. Sept. m. 1770. Compileil from the most .tutlientie sources, 
upon his horse, at sun- . By the author J [Topography traced from Coltou'.'i map. J 

rise he heard the firing between Knowlton and Le.^lie, and saw large bodies 
VOL. II. n 


of the enemy upon " the high ground opposite." He returned to the 
Morris House and hurriedly breakfasted. Uueasy about Kuowltou, he 
sent scouts for information, when presently that handsome, animated 
young officer apj)eared in his presence asking for reini'orcements to cap- 
ture his pursuers. Almost simultaneously one hundred of the Uritisli 
light infantry, who had clambered up the steep close in Knowltou's foot- 
steps, came out upon the plain and blew their bugle-horns, as usual after 
a fox-chiise. They had at the same time left three hundred men con- 
cealed in the woods on the river-bank. Washington ordered Major Leitch 
with a detachment of Virginia riflemen to join Knowlton and his rangers, 
and, with Reed as a guide, " to steal " around to the rear of the foe by 
their right flank, \vhile another detachment was to feign an attack in 
front. There was a hollow way, or ravine, coursed by a winding stream, 
between the two hostile parties, not far from the Ten mile stone, ternii- 
uatiug at Audubon Park. The British upon the plain (some two hundred 
feet above the Hudson), seeing so few coming out to fight, ran jubilantly 
down the slope towards them and took post behind a rail-fence, firing 
briskly. As the Americans pushed forward they left the fence, retiring 
up the hill. The rattle of musketry soon brought their reserve corps 
to the rescue ; and just then, by some mistake or failure to obey orders 
to the letter, never satisfactorily explained, the spirited charge of the 
rangers and riflemen began upon the flank of the enemy, instead of the 
rear, as intended. Both Knowlton and Leitch fell within ten minutes, 
near each other, and within a few paces of Reed, whose horse was shot 
from under him.' But the tide was turning, and the British giving way 
in an open-field conflict. Washington reinforced his gallant soldiers 
with detachments from the nearest regiments, Griffith's, Richardson's, 
Nixon's, Douglass's, and others, and the very men who had been so severely 
criticised for. running from Kip's Bay the day before redeemed themselves 
from the odium by deeds of noble daring.^ Putnam, Reed, and other 
prominent officers took command, charging upon the British and driving 
them from the plain ; they fled through a piece of woods, becoming scat- 
tered and fighting from behind trees and bushes, and then into a buck- 
wheat field. By this time it was nearly noon. 

The British officers, meanwhile, were on the alert, and troops were for- 

' " Knowltou fell," said Aaron BuiT, "about One Hundred and Fifty-third Street and 
Eleventh Avenue." Battle of Harlem Heights, by Chancellor Erastus C. Benedict. 

^ " The enemy (Americans) possessed great advantage from the circumstance of engaging 
within a half-mile of their entrenched camp whence they could be supplied with fresh troops 
as often as occasion required." Slednviu'.s Histori/ of the American War ; Jay, 80, 81. 
This accorils with the well-known fact that the greater portion of Washington's troops were 
encamped on the morning of Septcniljer 16, in the vicinity of the Morris House. 


warded on tlie trail of Leslie, whose disappearance in the early morning 
with his light infantry had caused no little solicitude. At the sound of 
guus on Harlem Heights, Howe sent other reinforcements of Highlanders 
and Hessians on the double quick to their relief. An Englishman wrote : 
" At eleven we were instantly trotted about three miles (without a halt to 
draw breath) to support a battalion of light infantry which had impru- 
dently advanced so far without support as to be in great danger of being 
cut off!" One thousand of the reinforcing troops encountered Greene's 
two brigades, a sharp tight ensuing not far from his encampment;^ others 
])roceeded further north on the low shore before mounting the heights, 
and joined their conu'ades in the buckwheat field just as the sun crossed 
the meridian. Through " more succors from each party " the battle was 
here maintained Ibr nearly two hours witli an obstinacy rarely equaled in 
the history of modern warfare. The enemy finally " broke and ran," and 
were driven and chased (the Americans mocking their bugles) " above a 
mile and a half" wrote Eeed, "nearly two miles" wrote Knox, taking 
shelter in an orchard finally near the Eight mile stone, when Washington 
prudently sent Tilghman to order the victorious soldiers back to the lines. 
Thomas Jones, known as " the fighting Quaker of Lafayette's army," said, 
" we drove the British up the road and down Break Neck Hill, which was 
the reason they called it Break Neck Hill." ^ 

This battle, the most brilliant and inqiortant in historical results of 
any fouglit during the Revolutionary War, was evidently a part of the 
British ])Ian to drive the Americans from the island before they should 
have time to construct tlefenses. The blunder of Leslie in beginning 
the battle too soon, and in the wrong place, occasioned the succession of 
British failures which furnished tlie Americans food for self-confidence 
until peace was proclaimed. Washington's army on Harlem Heights 
numliered, on the Ifith, scarcely eight thousand, and yet four thousand 
nine hundred were engaged — according to a careful estimate from re- 

' Greene to Governor CooJ:e of Rlioile Island, Sept. 17, 1776 ;'Jay, 55 ; Svmlhvood to the 
Maryland C'onrcntion, Oct. 12, 1776; Beatty to hisfnthcr, William Bcatty of Marylaml, Sept. 
18, 1776 ; Shim's Journal, 20 ; Xosh Journal, 33, 34 ; Samuel Chase to General Gates, Sejit. 
21, 1776 : Nicholas Fish to John Mek'esson, Secretary of the Convention, Sept. 19, 1776 ; 
John Gooch to Thomas Fayeruxalher, Seiit. 23, 1776. 

2 Humphrey Jones, son of Thomas Jones, to ChxmeeJlor Era^tus C. Benedict, Fell. 8, 1S78. 
This letter is an important link in the chain of evidence which locates the battle of Harlem 
Heights. The ilisbmces named in the contemporaneous correspondence are also notalily 
significant. Sillinian wrote: "The tire continni'd very heavy from the musketry and 
from tield-i)ieces about two hours, in which time our people drove the regulars hack fi-oni 
\iost to \ms\. about a mile and a ha!/." H^d tlie battle occurred south of Manhattanville, 
ami the enemy been driven a mile aud a half, the .\mericans would have been in the immedi- 
ate vicinity of the Apthorpe Mansion ! 


■jiorts of officers in each detachment. The British were superior in 
numbers, not less than iive or six thousand of their choicest troops, 
■with seven field-pieces, being in the action — while eight or ten thousand 
men were in arms ready to push on.^ It was an irregular battle from the 
very character of the picturesque, undulating, wooded heights, with their 
Tougli, rocky, and almost inaccessible sides, — natural buttresses, sujiport- 
ing plains, ridges, heavily shaded ravines, and small hills upon hills. 
Large bodies could move considerable distances without Ijeiug seen. The 
l^ritish plunged in wherever there was an ojieuing. The combatants were 
in scouts and squads, in battalions and in brigades. They fought in 
the woods, from behind trees, bushes, rock.s, and fences, and they fought 
on the plain and in the road. The battle raged from about One Hundred 
and Fifty-fifth Street nearly to Manhattanville. The enemy, according to 
Baurmeister, lost seventy killed and two hundred wounded. The Ameri- 
cans, twenty-five killed and fifty-four wounded. Heushaw, in a letter to 
liis wife, places the American loss at one hundred ; others have claimed 
that only fifteen lives were lost. Kuowlton was deeply UKjurned. He 
"was an officer who would have been an honor to any country. His last 
■words were, "Have we driven the enemy V'^ Leitch, one of Virginia's 
wortliiest son.s, survived his woumls until October 1. 

The success of this day turned tiie current of affairs. Henceforward 
the Americans believed in themselves. With their first opportunity, 
they had fouglit the enemy upon equal footing ; and had virtually de- 
feated the entire plan of the British connnanders with regard to north- 
ward and ea.stward conquest. Faces brightened witii joy, sinking hearts 
leaped tumultuously with hope, and men worked in the trenches witli a 
vigor that spread like a contagion. At evening the armies occupied the 
same relative positions as before the battle, the British upon Blooming- 
dale (or, as more generally called, Vanderwater's) Heights, and the Amer- 
icans upon Harlem Heights, their pickets almost within speaking distance 

^ These facts are well authentii-ateil, and were there no other eviciem.'e, are sulReieiit to pre- 
cliule the iiossihility of the battle having Ijeen fought upon Vanderwater's Heights, since 
Washington in liis weak and dispirited condition would never have been so indiscreet as to 
have sent half his available forces across (what would have jiroved a deatli-trap for every man 
in case of defeat and retreat) the Manhattanville hollow way, and attempted to maintain a 
contest within the British lines under such overwhelming disadvantage. 

^ Colonel Thomas Knowlton was born in West Boxford, Massachusetts, November 30, 
1740. He was the third son of William Knowlton, who purchased four hundred acres of land 
in -ishford, Connecticut, whither the family removed during tlie boyhood of Thomas. He 
enlisted in the army at fifteen, during tlie French War, and was pi-esent at the ca])t\ire of 
Ticonderoga and at the reduction of Havana. He was the companion of Putnam through 
many dangers and achievements, and specially distinguished himself by his gallantry at the 
hattle of Bunker Hill. Leitch was buried by his side. 


("three hundred yards") of each otiier across the Manhattanville valley.^ 
And thus they remained for upwards of tliree weeks. 

Howe was deeply mortified. His general orders next morning rebuked 
Leslie for imprudence.^ The "affair" was mentioned as one " of out- 
posts" and no detailed account of it was given. It was none the less a 
battle however, and so esteemed at the time liy all concerned. And it 
was not only the first victory of the Americans in a well-contested action 
with the flower of the British soldiery, coloring all the future of Amer- 
ica, liut it added materially to the caution which clogged Howe's subse- 
quent movements. He regarded Harlem Heights henceforward as invul- 
nerable. He wrote to the ministry, "the enemy is too strongly jiosted to 
be attacked in front, and innumerable difficulties are in the way of turn- 
ing him upon either side." He took am]ile time ibr consideration, and 
then made elaborate arrangements tn throw himself in the rear of Wash- 
ington by way of Westchester.^ 

' Graydon's statement, that "our most advanced picket towards New York at the 'Pohit 
of Rocks' was only separated from that of the enemy hy a valley a few hundred yards over," 
is in harmony with what Harris writes: "After landing in York Island, we drove the Amer- 
icans into their works beyond the eighth mile-stone from New York, and took post 
to them, placed our picipiets," etc. Thus from the evening of the 15th, Vanderwater's 
Heights was practically British ground. 

- From MS. Order-Book of British Foot-Guards, Sept. 17, 1776. "The commander-in-chief 
disapproves the conduct of the light company in pursuing the Rebels without propei- discre- 
tion and without support." From Donop's Report, "General Leslie had made a great blunder 
in sending these brave fellows so far in advance, in the woods without support." From 
Bnurincistcr's Report, " The English Light Infantry advanced too (juickly on the retreat of 
the enemy, and at Bruckland Hill fell into an ambu.scade of four tliousand men, and if the 
Grenadiers, and especially the Hessian yagers, had not arrived in time to help them not one 
of these brave light troops would have escaped." 

' The various theories advanced by distinguished writers concerning the site of the battle of 
Harlem Heights seem to have been the result of peculiar ambiguity in the accounts hastily 
penned at the time. There were then few landmarks to date from ; in speaking of hills and 
hollow ways there were several between the Morris House and the Apthorjie Mansion ; thus it 
would be hopeless to undertake to locate them from words alone. It is only Viy a critical 
conipaiison of the fifty or more narrations of the events of that present, using each 
individual .scrap of information, however insignificant in itself, to amplify or explain some 
other, that tlie mis-sing links are all embodied, and the mosaic assumes an intelligible and 
authentic form. No one engaged can see the whole of a battle. Each writer registereil, as 
far as he went, portions of the truth, as it appeared to his view. All agree as to distances. 
The .sketch illustrati's the topogniphy of the region, and will aid the reader in locating the 
battle-field. Authorities compared include, Hon. John Jai/'s Commemorative Oratioiit; Ap- 
pendix to Jay's Oration, by William Kelby. Assistant Libraiian of N. Y. Hist. Soc, 
embracing contemporaneous written evidence from thirty-four Americans, eight British, and 
five Hessian pens; Johnsons Campniejn of 1776 around Xew York and Brooklyn; Bon- 
croft's History of the United States; Force; Sparks; Irving; Stedman : Lossiny ; Dawson; 
Dunlap ; Miss Booth; Lv.thinfflojis Life of Lord Harris; Humphrey's Life of Putnam; 
Heath's Memoirs ; Benedict's Baltic of Hartem Ifriyhts, and many others. 


The city meanwhile was transformetl Houses of persons disloyal to 
the king were niarketl with a broad II ; all rebel ^jroperty was confiscated 
to the government and many houses belonging to individuals who had 
liad no part nor share in the Revolution were also marked. This last out- 
rage was supposed to have been the work of parties without authority, 
with personal reasons, but no redress could be obtained. Jones says, " the 
soldiers broke open the City Hall and plundered it of the College 
Library, its Mathematical and Philosophical apparatus, and a number 
of valuable pictures which bad been removed there by way of safety 
when the rebels converted the College (Columbia) into a hospital. They 
also plundered it of all the books belonging to the subscription library, 
as also of a valuable library which belonged to the corporation, the 
whole consisting of not less than sixty thousand volumes.^ This was 
done with impunity, and the books publicly hawked about the town for 
sale by private soldiers, their trulls and doxeys. I saw an Annual Reg- 
ister neatly bound and lettered, sold for a dram, Freeman's Reports for a 
shilling, and Coke's 1st Institutes, or what is usually called Coke upon 
Littleton, was offered to me for Is. &d. I saw in a public house upon 
Long Island nearly forty books bound and lettered, in which were affixed 
the arms of Joseph Murray under pawn from one dram to three drams 
each.^ To do justice even to rebels, let it here be mentioned that though 
they were in full possession of New York for nearly seven months, and 
had in it at times above forty thousand soldiers, neither of these libraries 
were ever meddled with. No orders i'rom the British commanders dis- 
countenanced these unmilitary and unjustifiable proceedings." Every 
available shelter was in demand for the accommodation of the garrison. 
Families were compelled to be hospitable, whether agreeable or otherwise. 
The widow of Thomas Clarke remained at her pretty country-seat between 
Twentieth and Twenty-third Streets, near Tenth Avenue, having been 
advised " to stick to her property." Her distress and alarm may be 
imagined, as a party of Hessians were quartered in and about her quiet 
home. The commanding officer, however, was a gentleman as well as a 
nobleman,^ and proved so agreeable that he became a favorite with the 

1 See Vol. I. 532, 647. 

* See Vol. I. 599, 608, 636, 640. Joseph Murray was a lawyer who maile a large fortune 
in New York, and was a prominent and useful citizen. His wife was the first cousin of the 
Earl of Halifax, and daughter of Governor Cosby of New York. 

^ The military services of Germany and Austria are the most aristocratic in Europe in 1876, 
as tliey were in 1776. None hut nobles couhi hold commissions under any GermanSover- 
eign. The officers were all noblemen. As far as biith was concerned the Hessian officers as 
a wliole in Howe's army were superior to the English officers as a whole. A rich Englishman 
could buy a conmiission for his son for the express purpose of making the boy a gentleman. 

THE GREAT FIRE OF 1770. 135 

family. He told ]\Ii'.s. Clarke'.s ilaugliters tliat lie heard of their dread of 
his coming to the house, which made him the more an.xious " to pi'ove 
the injustice of their apprehensions." These young ladies were, the wife 
of the liight Rev. Bishop Moore and her sister.s. 

Ere the week which had opened with the roar of artillery came to an 
end, New York was in flames. About one o'clock on the morning 
of Saturday, the, a fire broke out near Whitehall Slip. A 
fresh gale was blowing from the south, and the weather was dr>', thus it 
spread with inconceivable rapidity. It coiled itself round building after 
building like a serpent greedy of its prey. Houses and churches disap- 
peared like dissolving view.s. The iianic-stricken and di.stracted inhabitants 
were almost as terrible to behold as the roaring conflagration. Blazincr 
fire-brands leaped along in advance of the lurid column, and little fires 
were breaking out everywhere. People ran along the streets to see, and 
the fire went over their heads and Hanked them.' Even the reil heavens 
seemed also on fire. The British, maddened by the supposition that it 
was the work of the Americans, visited the most revolting cruelties npou 
persons who were trying to save property, killed some with the bayonet, 
tossed others into the flames, and one who, it is said, was a royalist, they 
hanged by the heels until he died. The wind veering as the great fire- 
tempest swept up the east side of Broadway, near Beaver Street, it crossed, 
and i)resently Trinity Church was a blackened heap of ruins, together 
with the parsonage, charity school, and Lutheran Church. A number of 
citizens went upon the flat roof of St. Paul's Church, and e.xtinguished the 
flakes of fire as they fell, thus saving the beautiful edifice. All the 
houses west of Broadway to the North Piver were consumed, the fire being 
checked only when it reached the College grounds. The map will show 
the reader its course and extent. Howe attributed the calamity to a 
conspiracy. It was generally attributed to incendiaries, and some two 

In Germany the youth must possess the aristoeratic prefix of " Von " or " De " to aspire to a 
commission. The Hessian officers in Amei'ica were polite, courteous, well-bred, and educated, 
almost without excejition. De Lnnccy's Mount M^ashinrjlon and its Capture ; Mag. Avier. 
Hist., Vol. 1. 76. Tlie property of Jlrs. Clarke was called the Chelsea farm. The man- 
sion and a part of the lanil came into possession of Bishop Moore by the will of Mrs. 
Clarke in 1802. It subsequently belonged to Clement C. Moore, the son of the Bishop. 

1 "If one was in one street and looked about, the fire broke out already in another street 
above ; and thus it raged all the night, and till about noon." Diary of Rev. Mr. Sheu-kirk 
(pastor of the Moravian Church, Fulton Street), Satiirdaij, Sept. 21. Barber's New York ; 
David Grim' s Account, Val. Man. 1866; Bancroft's Hist. U. S ; Frank Moore' s Diary of the 
Bevohition ; Freeman's Journal, Oct. 5. 1776 ; Duntap, 11, 78, 79 : Hoice to Germain, Sept. 
23, 1776 ; Tryon to Germain, Sept. 24, 1776 ; John Sloss Hohart to the Neio York Conven- 
tion, Sept. 25, 1776 ; Colonel Hartley to General Gates, Oct. 10, 1776; Rev. Dr. Charles Tnrjlis 
to Dr. Hind, Oct. 31, 1776. 



Map of Great Fire 1776. 

hundred persons were arrested upiju suspicion and incarcerated. Every 
person who was known to have talked inconsiderately was seized. E.\- 
aminations, however, elicited no proofs of guilt, and one after another 
was liberateil. The origin nf the Hre was subsequently traced to a 
midnight carousal in a small ])ulilic house of low character near White- 
Slip. It is said that the night being chilly, the half drunken lieings 
brought in some boards or rails, and kindled the ends in a large old- 
fashioned fire-place ; the fire creeping along the dry timber soon commu- 
nicated with the Hoor. The sequel has been told. 

As the sun was declining behind the smoking and still burning ruins, 
towards evening of the same day, Nathan Hale was brought into New 
York a captive spy, and taken before Lord Howe at the Beekman Man- 
sion^ on the height near Fift3^-first Street and East Eiver, the elegant 

' See Sketch of Mansion. Vol. I., 569. 


home of James Beekmaii, who had fled with his family into the country to 
share the foitunes ol Auierica. Hale was a young captain of twenty-one, 
of great beauty uf character, a Yale graduate, and, like Andre, already 
betrothed. He volunteered for the dangerous duty, went from Harlem to 
Xi.irwalk, Connecticut, and in the garb of a school-teacher, crossed the 
.Sound in a sloop and plungeil boldly into the enemy's country. He 
crossed into New York and returned to Brooklyn, and had reached the 
shore anil was waiting to step aboard the craft for Norwalk, when it 
is said he was betrayed by a relative, who recognized him in a Hunting- 
ton tavern. He was tried, according to tradition, in the greenhouse of 
the Beekman Mansion ; he frankly admitted his rank in 'Washington's, 
army, said he had been a spy, and had been successful in his search for 
knowledge, and calmly received his sentence to be e.vecuted on the fol- 
lowing morning at dawn. He was denied a clergyman, and a Bible ; and 
the letters penned to his mother, his sister, and his lady-love, through the 
kindness of an officer in furnishing him with jien and ink, were torn up 
by the brutal Cunningham. His last words were, " I only regret that I 
have but one life to lose for my country." The story of his heroic death 
soon became known through(jut the army, and inspired his comrades like 
a victory. 

On the same date (September 21) also passed away Lieutenant-Gover- 
nor Cadawalleder Golden, at his country-seat in Flushing, Long Island, at. 
the advanced age of eighty-nine. 

The Tuesday following, live hundred prisoners of war sent from Quebec 
by Carleton, on ])arole, were landed at Elizabethtown point. It was near 
midnight, and tlie bright full moon .shone from a cloudless sky. Daniel 
Jlorgan was of the number. As he sprang from the bow of the boat he 
fell to the earth as if to clasp it, exclaiming '■ 0, my country !" He had 
been offered a conimi.?sion in the liritish army if he would go over to 
that siile, and had resented it as an insult, l^pon hearing of his return,. 
Washington hastened his exchange, and reconnneuded his promotion. 

It was nut all ipiiet at Harlem Heights (henceforth oi'tener called Mount 
'Wasliington) although both armies were apparently inactive. There were 
perpetual skirmishes and alarms. In a well-iilanned but unsuccessful 
eflbrt to recapture Randall's Island, Thomas Henley of Charlestown, 
Massachusetts, one of the most promising of officers, lost his life. The 
utmost industry prevailed in the matter of fortiflcation. Three lines of 
intreuchments were thrown across the heights, besides several batteries 
and redoubts at various points overlooking Harlem and fronting the 
eneniy. Fort "Washington was converted into a fortress of great strength, 
upon the line of One Hundred Eighty-third Street, two hundred and thirty 


feet above the Hudson. It was opposite Fort Lee (Constitution) on the 
Jersey shore. Two hundred men were employed vigorously loading ves- 
sels with stone and sinking them at this point to obstruct tlie passage 
of British ships into the upper Hudson. For two weeks grain and hay 
in large quantities lay unmolested upon Harlein Flats. Both armies 
looked at and coveted it. Finally Washington sent several hundred men 
with wagons to garner it in ; a covering party approached the enemy, 
who manned their lines, anticiiJating an attack. The two hostile forces 
stood and blinked at each other, but neither fired a shot. Meanwhile 
the business was accomplished ; and both parties retired laughing within 
their lines. 

Lord and General Howe took occasion meanwhile to publish another 
declaration to the inhabitants of America on the subject of their griev- 
ances, promising in the king's name a revision of his instructions, and 
pardons and favors to all who would return to their allegiance. They 
were disappointed in its effects. The men were fewer upon this side 
of the water disj)osed to join the British army than had been represented. 
At the same time the cunning scheme created no little despondency and 
discontent in the various districts along the Hudson, and filled the minds 
of the American leaders with apprehension. Eobert R. Livingston wrote 
from the Convention, " We are constantly engaged in the detection of 
treasons, yet plots multiply upon us daily, and we have reason every 
moment to dread an open rebellion." William A. Duer wrote from tlie 
same body, " The committee to which I belong make daily fresh dis- 
coveries of the infernal practices of our enemies to excite insurrections 
among the people of New York." Washington appealed to Congress on 
the subject of short enlistments, which was demoralizing in the e.xtreme, 
and urged the reorganization of the army on a more substantial basis. 
The strange, whimsical, scoffing Lee at the same moment was abusing 
Congress for refusing to give him a separate command on the Delaware 
— he was ordered to Washington's camp instead. He obeyed, tardily, 
writing to Gates shortly after, " Congress seems to stumble at every step. 
I do not mean one or two of the cattle but the whole stable. h\ my 
opinion General Washington is much to blame in not menacing them 
with resignation, unless they I'efrain from unhinging the army by their 
absurd interference." Lord Stirling, about the same time cheered the 
camp at Harlem Heights by his piresence, an exchange of prisoners having 
been successfully negotiated. 

Notwithstanding the labor expended upon obstructions in the Hudson, 

three British ships passed them safely on the morning of the 9th. 

On the 12th Howe's army was in motion. Men-of-war sailed up 


the East Eiver, and flat-bottomed boats with briglit scarlet burdeus 
floated upon the bosom of the shiiiin" waters. The landincr was 

. Oct 12 

at Frog's Neck/ practically a tide island, which was then con- 
nected with the main by a bridge over a mill-dam, which, built by Caleb 
Heathcoate in 1695, stood until February 1875, when it was accidentally 
burned. " Had they pushed their imaginations to discover the worst 
place," wrote Duer, " they could not have succeeded better." Hand and 
his brave riflemen, stationed the other side of the bridge, pulled up the 
planks, and Prescott, of Bunker Hill renown, with his command behind 
breastworks hastily thrown up, resisted every attempt of the enemy to 
cross ; relieved from time to time by other regiments, the Americans 
actually prevented Howe from marching beyond the cover of his ship- 
ping. After losing five days; he re-embarked his troops and crossed to 
Pell's Xeck. 

On the 16th a council of war at the IMorris House pronounced it im- 
practicable to blockade the Sound, or even the North Eiver ; thus 
the only method of preventing the British from cutting off Wash- 
ington's communication with the country was an immediate northern 
movement towards the strong grounds in the ujiper part of Westchester 
County. Detailing a garrison for the holding of Fort Washington, the 
nnircli began ne.xt morning. Lee was sent forward to Valentine's Hill, 
and one brigade was Iblded behind auotlier, dragging guns li}" hand and 
carrying luggage on the shoulder, keeping along the ridge of high ground 
to the west of the Bronx Eiver, and throwing up a continuous chain of 
intrenchments with each daj-'s progress. 

On the 18th, the whole British army were in motion. At East Chester a 
sharp skirmish occurred ; the light infantry advancing towards the 
Hudson were valiantly faced by Glover's brigade from behind stone 
walls, and retired after losing several men. Howe's troops halted for the 
night xipon their arms near New Eochelle. The British chieftain remained 
here two days, studying the geography of Westchester, and making every 
aiTangement for advance with military precision ; thus he lost his prey. 
He discovered and captured two thousand bushels of salt which had been 
stored in the New Eochelle Church, and plundered the inhabitants indis- 
criminately of horses, cattle, and grain. On the 21st he occupied the 
heights north of New Eochelle on both sides of the road leading 

'^. ° Oct. 21. 

to Scarsdale. The Americans were at the same date nearly 
abreast. They had the advantage of the .shortest distance and the strong- 
est ground. " We press him (Howe) close to Sound," wrote Tilghman, 

' Frog's Neck is a corruption of Tlirog's Nock, itself an ablnevintion of Throckmorton's 
Neck, so called from its first English settlers. 


" from which he has luatle no westing in the sea plirase, and if he malce 
niucli more easting, and endeavors to stretch across, he will need as large 
an army as that of Xerxes to form a line." Both armies were deficient 
in the means of transportation. Howe was hindered by the destruction 
of bridges and the felling of trees across the roads. It took him as long 
to overcome these obstacles as it did Washington to throw up stone-walls 
and cover them with earth. Howe was in a perpetual state of alarm also, 
for he was not blind to the generalship of his adversary. He marched 
in solid columns, and all his encampments were well guarded with artil- 
lery. On the 25th he advanced within four miles of White Plains 
and again halted. Washington had reached and fortified certain 
high points in that village, intending to make a stand, not so much that 
a battle was courted as to draw the enemy forward and waste his time. 
The 27th was marked by an unsuccessful attack upon Fort Washington, 
by Lord Percy, aided by the ships in the Hudson. 

The morning of the 28th saw Howe's troops moving forward, intending 
apparently to fiuht a great battle. Sir Henry Clinton and the 

' i ■' . ■ ^ , ■' Sept. 28. 

brave I)e Heister commanded the two chief divisions. At Hart's 
Corner they drove back a party of Americans under Sjtencer who had 
been sent out to delay their progress. When within three fourths of a 
mile, they could see Washington's army in order of battle, upon chosen 
ground, behind two parallel lines of intrenchments, awaiting their ap- 
proach with an air of easy self-confidence. Howe carefully measured his 
chances; should he carry one line there would remain another; if he 
scaled both, the northern hills would provide for the retreating foe — " the 
rebel army could not be destroyed." But having come so far he must 
do something, hence he valiantly attacked a feeble outpost. 

Chatterton Hill, west of the Bronx, and less than a mile to the south- 
west of Wa.shington's main army, covered the Tarrytown road ; it was 
fortified, and occupied by a force of about fourteen hundred men under 
McDougall. Howe directed four thousand of his warriors to dislodge 
them, while the rest of his army seated themselves on the ground as 
lookers-on. The scene was in full view of the American army. An 
ineffectual camionade was commenced from the east side of the Bronx ; 
then, presently, a red-coated division waded through the shallow river, 
and struggled through a deadly shower of bullets up the rocky steep. 
For fifteen minutes they met a determined resistance, but when two fresh 
regiments attacked his flank, as well as front, McDougall, still preserving 
his communications, conducted his party safely over the Bronx bridge, 
and by the road to the American lines. Some eighty were taken ])ris- 
oners, the whole loss not exceeding one hundred. The British lost double 
that number. 


The acquisition of the hill was of no consequence to Howe after all 
his trouble. It really enfeebled him by dividing his forces. The day 
was waning, the men were fatigued, and no attempt was made to pursue 
McDougal or fortify the post. The whole British army lay that night 
upon their arms in order of battle. The next morning it rained. Howe 
watched the skies, waiting for fair weather. Washington occupied the 
day in removing the sick and his stores to the hills, some two miles 
north, in his rear, where he was also throwing up strong works. The 
30th was unfavorable for Howe's progress, and favorable for Washington's 
plans. Another drenchino- rain on the 31st, and Howe still re- 

Oct. 31. ^ ^ -11 

mained inactive. That night Washington retired to the new 
position he had chosen, which could be more easily defended than that 
in the village of White Plains. 

On the 5th of November Howe suddenly broke up his encampment in 
front of Washington's lines and moved towards Dobb's Ferry. He 
had, prior to this, ordered Baron Von Knyphausen from New Ro- 
chelle to Kingsbridge, the American garrison at that post retiring to Fort 
Washington as he ajipeared. It was a puzzle to the Americans whether 
Howe intended to penetrate New Jersey and march to Philadelphia, or 
embark in vessels on the Hudson and fall upon their rear. A council of 
war determined to throw an army into the Jerseys and secure PeekskiU. 
As for Fort Washington, it was retained on account of its strategic 
importance, and to aid Fort Lee, opposite, in blockading the passage of 
the river. 

But there was a traitor in that stronghold. William Demont, the 
adjutant-general of Robert JMagaw, commandant of the post, passed undis- 
covered, on the night of November 2, into the British camp of Earl Percy, 
carrying plans of Fort Washington, with complete information as to the 
works and the garrison.^ Percy despatched a messenger with the news 
in all haste to Howe at White Plains, who, seeing how he could capture 
an important fortress, without much risk, and thus control the Hudson 
and the country beyond, started without a moment's delay, reaching 
Dobb's Ferry on the 6th. The next day he sent artillery to Knyphausen 
at Kingsbridge, and placed batteries in position on the Westchester side 
of the Harlem River to cover selected points of attack. These and other 
active preparations went forward without exciting suspicion in the mind 
of Washington as to the real purpose of the enemy. On the 12th the 
whole British army moved to Kingsbridge and encamped along the high 
grounds of Harlem River, with his right on the Bronx and his left on the 

' DeLanccy's Notes to Jmies's History of New York during the Mcvolutimiary War, Vol. I., 
626-636 ; DeLancey's Mount Washington and its Capture; Mag. Amer. Hist., Vol. I. 


Hudson. Four separate points of attack were planned, and subsetpiently 
carried out to the letter. On the night of the 14th thirty row-boats, 
chiefly from the fleet, passed undiscovered up the North River, througli 
Spuyteu Duyvel into the Harlem Eiver, ready for use. On the morning 
of tlie 15th Howe summoned Magaw to surrender, under penalty of 
a storm (which by military law is liability to be put to the sword 
if taken), and gave him two hours to decide. Magaw at once returned 
the brave answer, " I am determined to defend this post to the last 
extremity." Greene was at Fort Lee, and approved Magaw's action ; he 
sent a messenger with the intelligence directly to Washington at Hack- 
ensack, where he was arranging for the reception of his army then crossing 
the Hudson at Peekskill, who rode in all haste to Fort Lee. Findintr 
that Greene was at Mount Washington, he embarked in a row-boat to 
cross the river, although it was late in the evening, but met Greene and 
Putnam returning when about midway between the two shores ; they 
told him that the troops were in high spirits, and would make a good 
defense ; hence tliey together repaired to Fort Lee. Not one among 
the American officers dreamed that it was treason with whicli they were 
contending. Washington's judgment was opposed to holding Fort 
Washington, but, governed by the wishes of Congress and a vote of the 
council of war, he had hitherto left its evacuation to the discretion 
of Greene, who was on the spot watching the movements of the enemy, 
and confident that if matters came to the worst the garrison could be 

The next morning was fair. At early dawn tliere were active movements 
upon every side of Mount Washington except the river side. The several 
British cohuuns all puslied forward simultaneously. Lord Cornwal- 
lis climbed the steep heights with his force ; Percy, accompanied 
by Howe who animated tlie troops by acts of personal bravery, with a col- 
umn from Harlem Flats, attacked the lower lines ; Knyphausen led his men 
up the Heights through many grave obstacles ; and other gallant officers 
went into the thickest of the fight. The Highlanders rushed uji the steep 
just below the Morris House, and captured over one hundred and fifty 
Americans, detached to oppose them at that point. The greatest gallantry 
was exhibited on both sides. Magaw had made good disposition of his 
forces, considering the ground and the four attacks to be met. But the 
British, knowing jjrecisely the strength they were to overcome, were pro- 
vided with the means. As the troops were driven in from the various outer 
batteries, Magaw found the fort so crowded that further resistance could 
only involve great sacrifice of life, and, after much parley, signed articles 
of capitulation with Knyphausen and Colonel Patterson, the British 


adjutant-general. In the midst of these negotiations a note from Wash- 
ington, telling Magaw that if he could hold out till evening an effort 
would be made to bring off the garrison, was brought by Captain Gooch, 
who, crossing the Hudson in a small boat, ran up the steep, delivered the 
message, and, running through the fire of the Hessians, reached his craft 
and recrossed the river in safety. But it was too late. The terms of 
surrender had already assumed the form of an agreement. Tims were 
two thousand eight hundred and eighteen soldiers cayitured ; four officers 
and fifty privates were among the killed, and ninety-three men were 
wounded. The British engaged in the battle numbered about eight thou- 
sand nine liundred ; their loss has been variously estimated, but the total 
in killed and wounded was four hundred and fifty-eight. 

Graydon, a captain in Cadwallader's regiment, one of the prisoners cap- 
tured, writes, " Howe must have had a perfect knowledge of the ground 
we occupied." Sixteen years later, the traitor himself, in attempting to 
recover certain dues from the British government, described his treason 
over his own signature, stating, explicitly, that througli the plans he fur- 
nished Lord Percy, "the fortress was taken by his "Majesty's troops." 
This letter, dated London, January 16, 1792, authenticated beyond ques- 
tion, is now in possession of Edward Floyd De Lancey. It is possible 
that Howe might have moved against Fort Washington without this 
information, but his chances of success would have been as limited as 
Greene, Putnam, and Mercer predicted ; even Washington, who was in 
consultation with these generals on the very morning of the battle, seems 
not to have been alarmed for the safety of the garrison. The losing of so 
many brave men was painfully disheartening ; in addition to which forty- 
three guns, twenty-eight hundred muskets, four hundred thousand car- 
tridges, fifteen barrels of gunpowder, several thousand shot and shell, and 
a large quantity of military stores, including " two hundred iron fraise of 
four hundred weight each, supposed to be intended to stop the navigation 
of the Hudson River," fell into the hands of the enemy. 

Thus was Manhattan Island in complete possession of the British ; and 
the king's fleet might furrow without molestation the Hudson, the East 
River, and the waters of the Soimd. 

Fort Lee was of no further importance to the Americans. Washington 
ordered its stores and guns removed at once, preparatory to its abandon- 
ment ; this work was in progress and partially effected, when, during the 
stormy night of the 19th, Lord Cornwallis, witli six thousand troops, 
crossed the Hudsrn some five miles above, the men dragging cannon 
by hand up a steep, narrow, rough road (for nearly half a mile), to the 
top of the , palisades, and early in the morning of the 20th commenced 


a brisk march southward, intending to enclose the garrison between the 
Hudson and Hackensack llivers. A farmer brought the tidings to Greene. 
It was evident that the safety of the troops depended upon tlie 
celerity with wliich tliey could reach and cross the Imdge to the 
other side of the Hackensack, wliere Wasliington and liis main army were 
encamped. Tlie deplorable want of horses and wagons rendered the loss 
of much baggage and valuaV)le stores inevitaljle. There was no help for 
it. Tents were left standing, and hres burning with the soldiers' break- 
fasts cooking over them. A large, flat, scorched stone is to this day 
pointed out as the oven where the bread was baking for the officers' table. 
The vanguard of the British readied the bridge almost as soon as tlie 
Americans, but the latter escaped, and Cornvvallis did not esteem it worth 
while to attempt the crossing. 

Washington posted troops along the western bank of the Hacken.sack, 
as a show of defense, while he moved his heavy artillery and stores farther 
inland. But he had no intention of remaining upon this level peninsula, 
hemmed in by two rivers, witliout an intrencliing tool, and with hundreds 
of men destitute of shelter from the November elements. He wrote to 
Lee, at North Castle, to join him quickly with the troojjs under his com- 
mand. Towards evening of the same day of liurry and excitement, an 
express from Heath (who was guarding the Higlilands) came upon tlie 
scene with a letter for "Washington. He met Pieed, wlio, sitting on his 
horse, wrote to Lee upon a scrap of brown wrapping jiaper, " Dear Gen- 
eral, we are flying before the British. I pray — ■" and the pencil broke. 
He added the remainder of the message verbally — " you to push and join 
us," and bade the horseman speed without loss of time to North Castle. 
The commission was faithfully executed, and the messenger related also 
what he had seen with his own eyes. On the 21st Washinuton 

^ '' Nov. 21. 

crossed the Passaic River ; and on the 22d entered Newark, where 
he remained six days. The diminution of the army through the departure 
of soldiers whose terms of enlistment had expired was a source of ilismay at 
this juncture. Washington was attended by less than thirty-five hundred 
troops. Mercer's flying camp was dissolving, his men having engaged to 
serve only until December 1. Lee did not come to the front as ordered. 
Schuyler, always on the alert to send help wliere it was wanted, responded 
to Wasliington's appeal to hasten from the Nortli the troops of Pennsyl- 
vania and New Jersey to his assistance, but tlie march was long, their 
terms nearly expired, and they refused to re-enlist. Mifflin was dispatched 
to Pennsylvania, where he possessed great influence, to endeavor to raise 
reinforcements ; and Peed was sent to Governor Livingston to press upon 
his notice the absolute need of unusual exertions to prevent the State of 



New Jersey from being overrun by the enemy. Livingston made the 
most strenuous efforts to have militia in the fiehl in time to oppose the 
invading force. He issued circulars and he wrote letters ; but a panic 
had seized the mass of the population. Congress was at the same time 
writing to the North and South, entreating for troops, and begging blank- 
ets and woolen stockings for tlie freezing soldiers. Pennsylvania was 

paralyzed by anarchy, and by disputes concerning 
the new constitution. Yet 
Mifflin was destined to be suc- 
cessfid in and about Phila- 
delphia, and men were soon 
enlisting with enthusiasm. 

On the 28th Washington 
left Newark, as the advanced 
guard of Cornwallis entered 
the city, — the British offi- 
cers quartering themselves in 
the best houses and demand- 
V ;,y ing the best furniture to make their rooms 

■ ■■" comfortable. The American army slept the same 
night in New Brunswick. Livingston was with Wash- 
ington in conference the following morning, and was 
directed to collect all the boats on the Delaware for 
a distance of seventy miles above Philadelphia, 
and place them under a strong guard. The 
first day of December came, and also the British van, in full view 
upon the other side of the Earitan. The Americans broke down the 
bridge in the face of a heavy cannonade, which was answered by a 
spirited fire from the battery of Alexander Hamilton, while the bare- 
footed, tattered American army quitted New Brunswick in haste, and 
marched by night to Princeton. The dazzling, warmly clad, and suc- 
cessful Englishmen seemed to be sweeping all before them ; the inhabi- 
tants in vast numbers flocked to them for protection ; and the Howes 
cunningly seized this opportunity to issue another proclamation, offering 
full pardon to all who would within si.xty days appear before an officer 
of the crown and take the oath of submission to Royal authority. 

It was now that Wasliington began to display his great moral and in- 
tellectual qualities to advantage. His mind seemed to expand with the 
darkness of the situation. The deeper the gloom, the brighter and the 
clearer his mental vision. Livingston had not yet been able to raise one 

Home of 
General Philip Schuyler, Albany. 


company of recruits in all New Jersey. Eeed, while on his mission to 
the Xew Jersey government, sent his conimission to Congress, through 
uiiwilliiigness to follow "the wretched remains of a broken army." The 
prospect of the censure he was likely to encounter imluceJ him at the end 
of four days to retract his resignation ; but ^Vashington's affectionate con- 
fidence in him was forever impaired. A sarcastic and self-constituted 
rival was also unexpectedly revealed in Lee, whose neglect to obey orders 
in this emergency deprived Washington of the aid of a considerable 
number of soldiers upon whom lie had counted with certainty. Men of 
influence were daily going over to Howe ; the State of Maryland was 
willing to renounce the declaration of tlie Fourth of July for the sake of 
an accommodation with Great Britain ; and it was rumored that Connec- 
ticut had appointed a committee to make peace with the king's commis- 
sioners. In Washington's own immediate family officers were criticising 
each other, and making the character and military conduct of their com- 
mander-in-chief the subject of disparaging comments. 

Connvallis halted si.\ days in New Brunswick, not being able to pro- 
ceed further without positive orders from Howe. Washington left L(jrd 
Stirling with twelve hundred men in Princeton, while he went forward 
to Ti'entou and transported his remnant of military stores and baggage 
beyond the Delaware. He then faced about. On the 6th of December 
Howe joined Cornwallis at New Brunswick, and after deliberate prepa- 
rations continued the pursuit. Washington, on tlie counter-march 

' o ' Dec. 8. 

to Princeton, December 8, met Stirling retiring belbi'e a superior 
force, and returning to Trenton, crossed the Delaware in safety. Had 
Howe, instead of resting seventeen hours at Princeton, pushed forward 
immediately, the year 1776 might have ended with a very different record. 
As it was, Cornwallis reached Trenton just in time to see the rear guard 
of Washington land upon the western l.iank of the Delaware ; he made 
several unsuccessful eflbrts to seize Itoats, and seemed surprised to find 
tliem all beyond his reach. He marched thirteen miles up the river to 
Coryell's Ferry, sending a column alsn Ijelow as if he would entrap the 
Americans in the acute angle made Ijy the bend of the river uppdsite 
Bordentown. But an able disposition of troops on the opposite bank of 
the Delaware by Washington, and the want of boats, discouraged special 
efforts. A noted loyalist, in censuring Howe for not cro,ssing immediately 
and annihilating the American army, said, " There was a board-yanl 
entirely full and directly back of the house in which the commander- 
in-chief had his headquarters, and which he must have seen every time 
lie looked out of his bedroom window. Besides, there was in Trenton a 
number of large barns and storehouses, built of boards, out of which rafts 


might have been made, in tlie space of two clays, sufficient to have con- 
veyed the whole British army, with their baggage, artillery, and provisions, 
across the river." 

Putnam was now detached to take command of Philadelphia and put 
it in a position of defense. Congress retired to Baltimore. Ever since 
the army separated at White Plains, Lee had acted a mysterious part. 
His reputation was at its zenith, and not only Congress but tlie countiy 
at large pinned unlimited faith to his knowledge of the art of war. When 
ordered to New Jersey he raved about the insanity of one army reinforcing 
another, as if he was holding a separate command. He glibly discussed 
saving the community regardless of Congress, and wrote to Congress re- 
flecting severely upon Washington's judgment. He was an ambitious 
aspirant for power. Finally the repeated mandates of his superior ad- 
mitted of no further evasion, and his division crossed the Hudson Decem- 
ber 3. His progress after that was vexatiously slow. He was in Pomjjtou 
on the 7th ; from Morristown he wrote to Congress, December 8, that 
Washington was all wrong, and that he had no idea of joining him ; and 
to Washington he reported his division as consisting of four thousand 
noble-spirited men, with whom he would " hang on the enemy's rear." 
Again ordered peremptorily to the Delaware, he moved forward leisui'ely, 
caviling at everything done by others, and in four days had only reached 
Baskinridge, where he very indiscreetly lodged, with a small guard, in 
Mr. White's tavern, near the church, some distance from the main body 
of his troops. A loyalist in the neighborhood rode in all haste with the 
intelligence to Colonel Harcourt, afterwards Earl Harcourt, who, with a 
scouting party of seventy dragoons, was watching fbi' an opportunity of 
distinguishing himself Early ne.\t morning he reached the spot by a 

rapid march, surrounded the house, and in four minutes was bear- 
Dec. 13. ' 

ing ofi' in triumph the capricious general who had just written 

boastful letters to the effect that he was reconquering the Jerseys. Lee 

was at first treated as a deserter from the British service, and not as a 

prisoner of war. Howe refused to see him at Princeton, and he was taken 

under a close guard to New York. 

The command of Lee's division devolved upon Sullivan, who promptly 
joined Washington on the 20th, the very date of Franklin's arrival in 
Paris. Gates arrived the same day with some Northern troops, and the 
army once more numbered nearly seven thousand effective men. In ten 
days, however, the enlistments of most of the regiments would expire. 

It was not a pleasant December, but cold, stormy, and dismal. Howe 
was tired of discomfort, and preferred winter-quarters in New York, where 
all was mirth and jollity. He accordingly cantoned some four thousand 


troops at Trenton, Bordentowii, Alount Holly, Princeton, New Brunswick, 
Auilioy, and other points, scattering them even to the Hackensack. Tren- 
ton, the most southern of tlie cantonments, was left guarded by fifteen 
luindred Hessians, who could not speak a word of English, commanded 
by Colonel llald, a brave othcir, but a notorious drunkard. He was 
averse to taking the trouble to fortify ; and when told that Washington 
contemplated recrossing the Delaware, he laughed at the idea. Was it 
not Deceud^er ? How could starving men, with neither shoes, stockings, 
nor blankets, come out to tight in such an inclement season ? The rebels 
were nothing, anyhow, but a pack of cowards. " Let them come," he said, 
" we will at them with the bayonet." 

Howe pompously reported his surprising He was master of 
New Jersey. He was also master of Ehode Island, having sent Sir 
Henry Clinton, with ten thousand men, in one hundred transports, escorted 
by fourteen men-of-war under Sir Peter Parker, to secure Newport, a feat 
accomplished December 8 witliout the firing of a gun, since there was no 
garrison to resist. And Canada had been altogether restored to England 
by the valiant and humane Carleton. 

The game of war, however, was not yet won, as Howe was shortly to 
learn to his intense mortiHeation. Washington was prejjaring for a bold 
dash upon Trenton. Christmas night was fixed for the hazardous under- 
taking. Gates, like Lee, indulged in tlie censure of Washington, and was 
impatient of his supremacy. When desired to take command of a party 
at Bristol and co-operate in the spirited expedition, he pleaded ill health, 
and asked leave to go to Philadelphia, actually intending to proceed to 
Baltimore and lay plans of his own before Congress, with the hope of 
eclipsing his commander-in-chief Symptoms of an insurrection obliged 
Putnam to remain in Philadelphia ; but Greene, Sullivan, Mercer, and 
Stirling were among the general officers ; and Stark of New Hamjishire, 
Hand of Pennsylvania, Glover and Knox of Massachusetts, Webb of Con- 
necticut, Scott, William Wasliington, and James Monroe of Virginia, and 
Alexander Hamilton of New York, were among the field and otlier otficers 
with Washington. From the wasted regiments twenty-four hundred men 
only could be found strong enough and sufficiently clothed to accompany 
their leaders. Tlie weather was excessively cold, the wind hi'jh, 

•' ■ Dec. 25. 

tlie river full of ice, and the current difficult to stem. They began 
their march at three in the afterni ion, with eighteen field-pieces, each man 
carrying cooked provisions for three days, " and forty round.s." They 
reached JLackonkey's ferry at twilight. The Marl)Iehead mariners, who 
did such good service on the retreat from Long Island, bravely manned 
the boats, Knox superintending the embarkation. At eleven o'clock it 


began to snow. It was four in the morning of the 26th before the troops 
and cannon were all over the Delaware, and their nine-mile march com- 
menced. Washington's plan included a simultaneous attack from 

Dec. 26. ° , -^ 

several points. Nearly opposite Trenton, Ewing, Nixon, and Hitch- 
cock were posted with troops, directed to cross and intercept the retreat 
of the Hessians, or prevent Donop at Burlington from affording relief ; 
and at Bristol, Cadwallader and Eeed were also to cross for a similar 
purpose. The ice rendered it impracticable for the execution of either of 
these orders. The troops with Washington were formed in two divisions 
about three miles from the ferry, Sullivan leading one column along the 
road near the river, and Greene guiding the other upon a I'oad to the left. 
These roads entered the town at different points, but the distance was 
nearly the same. Washington was with Greene, whose advanced guard 
was led by Ca^jtain William Washington, with James Monroe (afterwards 
President of the United States) as first lieutenant. The stinging cold, 
the beating storm, and the tiresome march were borne bravely by all. At 
eight o'clock in the morning Trenton was reached. On the route Sullivan 
sent a messenger in haste to Washington to say that the storm had ruined 
many of the muskets. " Then use the bayonet, for the town must be 
taken," was the crisp reply. The snow deadened the tread of the troops 
and the rumbling of artillery. Thus the surprise was complete. While 
Washington advanced on the north of the town, Sullivan approached on 
the west, and Stark was detached to press on the south end of the village. 
Some five hundred of the enemy at this latter point, seeing Washington 
coming down in front, as Stark thundered in their rear, fled precipitately 
by the bridge across the Assanpink, towards Donop, at Bordentown. 
Washington rode into Trenton beside the artillery, giving directions when 
and how to fire, but he was presently flying from point to point regardless 
of his personal safety, and from the swiftness of the manoeuvres of his 
troops the Hessians were allowed no time to form, therefore their firing 
was all at random and without effect. In thirty-five minutes the action 
was over. Kahl, in attempting to rally his panic-stricken guard, had 
fallen mortally wounded, and they immediately surrendered. Washington 
took possession of nine hundred and fifty prisoners, six brass field-pieces, 
twelve hundred small-arms, standards, horses, and plunder in immense 
quantities ; this last he advertised, and restored to all such persons as 
came forward and proved their title to the stolen goods, — an act so humane 
and just, and so totally unlike the manner in which the people of New 
Jersey had been treated by their socalled protectors, that there was an 
immediate revolution in public sentiment which was of lasting impor- 
tance. Had the two divisions crossed the river as Washington expected, 


none of the Hessians could have escaped. And in this brilliant achieve- 
ment the Americans lost only two privates killed, two frozen to death, 
and two officers and four privates wounded. The whole scheme was as 
ingenious as it was executed with remarkable vigor. To Howe's startled 
senses it was as if some energetic apparition had risen from the dead. 

The victory of Trenton turned the wlieel of American destiny into a 
new light. Washington commended his officers and men in the warmest 
terms, pronouncing tiieir conduct admirable without a solitary exception. 
He recrossed the Delaware into Pennsylvania with his prisoners, as Tren- 
ton in itself was of no account, and made immediate arrangements to fol- 
low up his .success and drive the British back into New York. Before 
the last day of the year he had a second time crossed the Delaware with 
his forces, and all England was presently to look with amazement upon 
their own retreating legions. Lord Germain said, " Our hopes were 
blasted by that unhappy afi'air at Trenton." 

The prisoners taken at Fort Washington were crammed into every 
available building in New York City at this moment, — churches, sugar- 
houses, stores, and jails. The Middle Dutch Church was stripped of its 
pulpit and pews, and nearly three thousand men, sick and well, were 
huddled indiscriminately within its walls. 

On the 27th Congress passed a resolution investing Washington witli 
such extraordinary military powers, that he was said in Europe to have 
been appointed " Dictator of America." These trusts were confided to 
him for six months, that he might enlist and organize an army which 
would have more solidity and permanence than the phantom he had hith- 
erto attempted to control. Tlie news reached him on the 29th. 

' ... Dec. 29. 

The action of Congress authorizing the commissioners in France 
to borrow two millions sterling at six per cent for ten years, together with 
an order for the emission of five million dollars in paper on the faith oi 
the United States, came to his knowledge also on the same date. 




Money. — VicTOEy at PniNCETON. — St.^rtling Achievement.s. — New Jersey recon- 
quered BY Washington. — at Miii;ristown. — Lord Stirling. — Raid.s. — 
Burning of Danbury. — Storming of Sago Harbor. — Capture of General Pres- 
coTT. — Constitution of New York. — Augustus Jay. — Battle of Scotch Plains. 
— Fall OF TicoNDEROGA. — Battle of Oriskany. — Battle of Bennington. — Dis- 
cussions i.v Parliament. — Lafayette. — The New Jersey Gazette. — Opening 
OF THE Supreme Court of New York. — B.vrTLE of the Brandywixe. — Fall of 

• Philadelphia. — Battles of Saratoga. — Battle of Ger.mantown. — Burning of 
Kingston. — Surrender of Burgoyne. — Valley Forge. — West Point. 

THE New Year dawned upon a great chieftain without an 
army. And yet many of the disbanding regiments, whose terms of 
enlistment e.xpired with the old year, were so electrified with delight at 
the victory of Trenton, that they agreed with one voice to remain six 
weeks longer, without any stipulations of their own in respect to com- 
pensation. The grave question of how to pay off the troops agitated 
Washington at this moment beyond all others ; he had pledged his own 
fortune, other officers had done the same, the paymaster was out of funds, 
the public credit was exhausted. Until the bills ordered by Congress 
could be executed, he was left penniless even of paper money. I'obert 
Morris was in Philadelphia, at the head of a committee from Congress, 
and to him Washington wrote, December 30, " Borrow money while it 
can be done. No time, my dear sir, is to be lost." Very early on New 
Year's morning, writes Bancroft, Morris went from house to house in the 
Quaker Cit}' rousing people from their beds to borrow money ; and before 
noon he sent Washington fifty thousand dollars. 

While Washington was hurriedly reorganizing his army at Trenton, 
Cornwallis (who, about to sail for Europe when the news of Washington's 
master-stroke at Trenton reached Howe, had been sent back into New 
Jersey to repair the mischief wrought) was making ready at Princeton to 


lead seven thousaud veteran troops upon the devoted heroes. Of tliis 
Wasliington had timely notice. The cold of the i)ast week hail abated, 
and the roads were soft ; thus the march of the Britisli, which coni- 

Jan. 2. 

nienced on the morning of January 2, was painfully slow. And 
they were delayed at various points by skirmishers. Leslie, with a liri- 
gade, was left at Maidenhead as a reserve. At Five Mile Run tliey en- 
countered the brave Hand with his ritlemeu, who disputed every step 
henceforward until they reached Trenton. At Shabliakong Creek the 
column was embarrassed for two hours by Americans secreted within the 
woods on the sides of tlie road. When within a mile of Trenton, Greene 
met them witli two tield-pieces and si.x; hundred or more musketeers, and 
held them in check for some time, then withdrew in good order. Late on 
that wintry afternoon Washington, mounted upon a white horse, placed 
himself in the rear, and threw tlie few troops remaining in the town across 
the bridge of the Assaupink, beyond which the main body of his army 
stood in admirable battle array, silent in their ranks, protected by bat- 
teries. The sight was imposing ; it was nearly sundown, and fogs and ex- 
ceptional darkness threatened. Cornwallis encamped his tired troops on 
the hill above, confident in having driven Washington into a situation 
from which he could not possibly escape, and with vigilant guards sta- 
tioned along the little stream, went to sleep in anticipation of a desperate 
struggle on the morrow. 

Tlie American camp fires for more than half a mile along the opposite 
shore of the Assaupink, blazed and flickered, throwing a glare over the 
town ; and ever and anon from this wall of flame rose Hashes, as fresh 
heaps of fuel were added, illuminating the heavens for a great distance. 
The British sentries watched lazily, listening to the perpetual sound of 
digging near the bridge, where the Americans were apparently scrambling 
to throw up intrencbments, working the whole night long. 

At daylight there was not a soul to be seen ! Tiie American army had 
vanished like a dissolving-view ! Cornwallis could scarcely credit the 
evidence of his own eyes ! Mounted officers tore madlv throuLrh 

" '- Jan. 3. 

the streets. Where, oh, where was the foe they had come so far to 
fight ? A distant rumbling like that of cannon in the direction of Prince- 
ton told of a twin achievement to that of the week before, which a dis- 
tinguished foreign military critic has pronounced the best planned and 
executed military manoeuvre of the eighteenth century. If possible, this 
attack upon Princeton, in its audacity and its inspiring results, excelled 
that of Trenton. Cornwallis was appalled lest Wa.shington should reach 
and destroy the British magazines at Xew Brunswick ! He broke up his 
camp and forthwith marched rapidly towards I'riuceton. 


Washington, knowing the by-ways leading out of Trenton, the cross-cuts 
and the roundabout roads, had soon after dark silently removed the bag- 
gage of his army to Burlington. About midnight he had forwarded his 
troops in detachments by a circuitous route to Princeton. The weather 
changing suddenly to crisp cold, aided him materially in moving his artil- 
lery. The party left to deceive the enemy by maintaining fires and noise 
of labor performed their parts well, and with the early dawn hastened after 
the army. At sunrise Washington reached the outskirts of Princeton, 
and wheeled by a back road towards the colleges. Three British regi- 
ments had been left here, under marching orders for Trenton, and two of 
these had already started, one being about a mile in advance of the other. 
With each there was a sharp and severe conflict. In the first, near the 
bridge at Stony Brook, the lion-hearted General Mercer was killed. This 
was one of the moments when all the latent fire of Washington's character 
blazed forth. He rode squarely to the front, less than thirty yards from 
the enemy, reined in his horse, and waved liis hat to cheer on his troops. 
Scarcely twenty minutes later the British were flying over the fences and 
fields, vigorously chased for three or four miles. Washington took Hitch- 
cock by the hand and thanked him in the presence of the soldiers for his 
gallantry ; and he also warmly complimented Hand for efficient services. 
Meanwhile Stark, Eeed, and Stirling drove the other resisting regiments 
into the college buildings ; from which, to escape certain capture, the 
majority fled through the fields into a back road in the direction of New 
Brunswick. Nearly three liundred surrendered, including fourteen offi- 
cers ; the British loss in killed was between two and three hundred. The 
American loss in numbers was small. 

Washington would have proceeded instantly to New Brunswick but for 

the fatigue of his men, who had been in constant service two days and 

one night, without shelter and almost without refreshment. After Ijreaking 

up the bridge at Kingston over the Millstone Ei\'er, he marched toward 

the high mountain ridge, and halted for the night at Somerset 
Jan. 5. '^ ° ' ^ 

Court-liouse. He reached Morristown on the 5th, and there, 
among the barriers of nature, established winter-quarters. But he did 
not sit down idle. He sent out detachments to assail and harass Corn- 
wallis, and with such address wei'e these e.xpeditions conducted that the 
British commander was actually compelled to evacuate all his posts west- 
ward of New Brunswick, and concentrate his forces for the safety of his 
stores at that place. George Clinton, with troops from Peekskill, looked 
down upon Hackensack on the day that the army reached Morristown, 
and the British force fled from that point. 

Taking advantage of the consternation of the enemy. Maxwell, with a 


company of militia, suddenly descended from the Short Hills and drove 
the British out of Newark, had a skirmish with them at Springfield, com- 
pelled them to leave Elizabeth, and fought them at Eahway for two 
hours. On the 9th the British were fairly cooped up in New Brunswick 
aud Amboy ; and there they remained the rest of the winter, suliject to 
constant alarms for their own safety. Not a stick of wood, a kernel of 
corn, or a spear of grass, could they procure without fighting for it, unless 
sent over from New York. 

The glory of these startling achievements was rendered doubly con- 
spicuous l.iy their immediate effects. The army which was supposed to 
be on the verge of annihilation had in three weeks dislodged the flower 
of the British soldiery friini every position it had taken, save two, in the 
whole province of New Jersey. The reaction of j^ublic sentiment was 
marvelous. Despondency was dispelled as by a charm. Washington's 
sagacity, intrepidity, and generalship were applauded both by friend and 
foe. The greatest i^ersonages of Europe lavished upon him praise and 
congratulation. He was compared to the renowned commanders of an- 
tiquity. Van Bulow writes, " The two events of Trenton and Princeton 
are suflicient to elevate a general to the temple of immortality." Botta, 
the Italian hi.storiau, says, " Achievements so astonishing gained for the 
American commander a very great repiitation, and were regarded with 
wonder by all nations, as well as liy the Americans." Horace Walp( ile, 
in a letter to Sir Horace Maun, said, " I look upon a great part of Amer- 
ica as lost to this country." 

"V^^aen the people of New Jersey, who had fled to the mountains for 
safetjr upon the advent of the armies in December, ventured to return in 
January, they found their houses plundered, fences used for fire-wood, 
and gardens and grounds in open common. Those who had remained in 
their dwellings learned to their sorrow (as did the inhabitants of Long 
Island and Westchester) that neither neutrality nor loyalty protected 
them from barbarous and indiscriminate pillage. Churches were dese- 
crated, libraries destroyed, and the furniture, clothing, and eatables of 
private families taken whenever want or inclination dictated, expostu- 
lation only resulting in wanton mischief — such as the Ijreaking of glass 
or the ripping open of beds by which feathers were scattered to the 
four winds. Infancy, old age, and womanhood were lirutally outraged. 
The Hessians bore the Idame chiefly, Ijut the English soldiery were 
scarcely less to be dreaded. The country rose against the invaders. 
Every foraging party sent out from New Brunswick was driven back 
with loss by such gallant leaders as Spencer, Maxwell, and LitteU. Hun- 
dreds of skirmishes occurred before spring ; individually unimportant per- 



haps, and yet brilliant in their relations to the events which had gone 
before and were to follow in immediate succession. 

Lord Stirling wrote to Governor Livingston, " Now is the time to exert 
every nerve." New Jersey in her great peril had no more efficient, faith- 
ful, and fearless champions than these two .officers. Both were New- 
Yorkers by birth, education, and family interests. Stirling's wife was 
Livingston's sister. Stirling himself was the son of New York's famous 
lawyer, James Alexander, and a descendant of the De Peysters through 

his mother. Lady Mary, the elder 
of his two daughters, was married 
to Eobert Watts, son of Counselor 
John Watts, and residing in New 
York at the present crisis, — her 
husband, however, taking no part 
on either side in the conflict. Stir- 
ling's country-seat was at Baskin- 
ridge, a few miles from Morris- 
town, the house one of the finest 
in the State, fronting a spacious 
lawn, with gardens, fields, and a 
fine deer-park stretching off to the 
right and left. The stables and 
coach-houses were perhaps the 
most striking features of the es- 
tate, ornamented with cupolas and 
gilded weather-vanes, and encircling a large paved court in the rear. 
They sheltered the handsomest horses and the most stylish equipage at 
that time in tlire State. ^ Quiet homes in this mountainous region had 
been secured by many New York families. John Morton, styled the 
" Rebel banker " by the British, lived near Lord Stirling, and with this 
gentleman General Lee was to have breakfasted the very morning of 
his capture. Morton's daughter, Eliza Susan, then quite young, after- 

Lord Stirling. 

1 Lord Stilling was in serious financial embaiTassment, consequent in part from' the costli- 
ness of his residence in England some years before, one of the incidents of which was his 
unsuccessful claim to the title and estates of the Earl of Stirling. Just jirior to the Revo- 
lution, he obtained Legislative permission to sell his |iroperty by lottery, but the tickets had 
not yet found buyers when the confusion of atfairs sto]}ped proceedings. His lands known 
as the Cheesecocks, Richbills, Provoost, Herdenburgh, and Minisink Patents, in the coun- 
ties of Oriiuge, Ulster, Albany, and Westchester, with other real estate, were mortgaged to 
Mrs. Anna Waddell, one of the wealthiest citizens of New York City, of whom he had bor- 
rowed large sums of money, — which lands subsequently fell by foreclosure to the daugliters 
of Mrs. Waddell, who married into the families of tlie Taylors and Winthrops. Mrs. Anna 



wards married the distinguished scholar and statesman, Josiah Quincy. 
Mrs. Governor Livingston and her daughter were the guests of Lady 
Stirling the entire winter, hastily abandoning " Liberty Hall " when the 
enemy approacheil Elizabeth. 

The guA'ernor was upon his horse daily, regardless of cold, fatigue, in- 
clement weather, oi personal danger. He convened the Legislature, and he 
conferred with Wasliington, attending to innumerable conflicting duties 
at various points between Trenton and Morristown. Washington issued 
mandates which Lix'ingston emphasized relative to the suppression of law- 
less rapine among the American soldiers. The ofler of full pardon to all 
inhabitants of New Jersey who would surrender their protection-papers to 
the nearest officer and swear allegiance to the United States, resulted in 
a considerable accession to the patriot ranks. But there were Quakers in 
Western New Jersey who fondly cherished the non-resistance doctrine, 
to the infinite embarrassment of the framers of the new militia laws of 
the State. Sharp lines were drawn between friends and foes, dividing 
families and scattering households, but the public safety demanded rigor- 
ous measures. Every man who was unwilling to take the oath was 
obliged to retire within the British limits. Upon the recommendation of 
Livingston, the Legislature finally, on the 5th of June, passed a bill con- 
fiscating the personal estates of all such as still adhered to the British 
interest. Tliis provoked the bitterest hostility on the part of tlie refugees, 
notwitlistauding the act provided a period of grace in which without hiss 
of property they might renew their allegiance. Henceforward to the cud 

Waddell was the widow of John Waddell, the grandson of Captain John "Wnddell who, for 
great naval victories gained by him, was specially endowed by Charles II. " iu peipetual 
remembrance of liis glorious achievements, to him and his heirs male for- 
ever," with a coat of arms — ten lire-balls, etc., and a crest of a demi-lion 
rampant, out of the battlements of a castle, bearing a banner of St. George. 
John Waddell came from Dover, England, and was married in 1736 to the 
lady above mentioned, the ceremony taking place in the old Government 
House. The wedding chaiis used on this occasion are still preserved iu 
the family. (See page 191.) He was one of the first subscribers to the 
New York Society Library. After his death, Mrs. Waddell became one 
of the trustees, the only lady whose name appears in the Royal charter of 
that institution. Their eldest son, William Waddell, was an alderman 
during the Revolution, and a man of civil and social distinction. Henry, 
eldest son of William Waddell, married Eliza, the daughter of Lloyd Itau- 
beny (entitled to the Peerage of Lord Daubeny) and Mary Coventry, a 
descendant of the Earls of Coventry. The eldest .son of Henry and Eliza 
Daubeny Waddell, Coventry Waddell, who was United States Jlarshal 
under President Jackson, financial agent of the State Department under Waddell Arms. 
Secretaries Edward Livingston and John Forsyth, and subseciuently Orticial and General 
Assignee in Bankruptcy for New York City, is now the only living representative of the 
three families of Daubeny, Coventry, and Waddell in this country. 


of the war these men were far more to be feared than the British or Hes- 
sian soldiers, as they were constantly fitting out expeditions into their 
old neighborhoods for revengeful murder and plunder. Their inroads 
were similar to the border forays in Scotland. They made sundry at- 
tempts to burn " Liberty Hall," and threatened the governor's life with 
fierce intent. His family removed in the early spring from Lord Stirling's 
home at Baskinridge to Percepany. On the night of July 27, while the 
governor was pajdng a flying visit to them, the house was surrounded by 
a band of refugees ; but, knowing that gentlemen guests were within 
from whom they might not be able to distinguish their victim, they laid 
dowu in the grass waiting for daylight, and overslept tliemselves. When 
roused by the suusliine, Governor Livingston was galloping over the 
roads, miles away, to meet some important appointment, wholly uncon- 
scious of what he had escaped. 

The right wing of Washington's army was at Princeton under Putnam, 
who had hardly as many men as miles of frontier to guard ; the left 
wing was under Heath in the Highlands, and cantonments were estab- 
lished at various points along this extended line. Wooster, Scott, Lin- 
coln, Parsons, McDougaU, and Benedict Arnold were all in the Hudson 
Eiver division, and were stationed at various times as far south as North 
Castle, New Rochelle, Dobb's Ferry, and even Kingsbridge, but nothing 
of importance transpired. Parties of the enemy prowled through the 
neighborhood of New York City for cattle, horses, haj^, and grain, when- 
ever it was practicable. In Alarch, Colonel Bird, with a detachment 

March 23. „ , , , , , . 

of five hundred troops under a convoy ot one frigate and some 
smaller vessels, suddenly appeared at Peekskill, where the magazines and 
stores of Heath were collected, and, driving McDougall with his small 
force from the town, captured a considerable amount of booty. Colonel 
Willett with sixty men dashed upon them before they had finished their 
business, with such vigor that they fled precipitately to their vessels. 
Heath was at the time in Massachusetts, having been appointed on the 
14th to the command of the Eastern department. 

April was notable for the British raid upon Danbury, Connecticut, 
where the Americans had stored supplies and munitions of war. Tryon 
commanded the expedition, and was accompanied by Sir William Erskine 
and General Agnew, with two thousand men. They landed at Compo 
beach, just east of Norwalk, from twenty-five vessels, and marched 
twenty-two miles inland, reaching Danbury Saturday afternoon, 
April 26. The guard was too small for effective resistance, and 
withdrew. The inhabitants fled for safety into the country to the north 
and east. Sergeant Nathaniel Hoyt, of Washington's Continental Artil- 


levy,' clianced to he home on a furlough, aud hastily removed his wife and 
young children to New Milford upon an o.x-cart, passing out of the 
town just as the red-coated legions came in. His cousin. Comfort Hoyt, 
was less fortunate in escaping, his handsome horses being discovered hy 
the invaders and taken from his wagon on the road. The families, sud- 
denly abandoning tlieir homes, took such valuables as they could carry, but 
the greater portion of their household goods were left to the mercy of the 
foe. The church was packed to the galleries with provisions in barrels, 
and several barns and other depositories were full to the roof ; these were 
rolled into the street in a pile, aud the torch applied. Eighteen hundred 
barrels of pork and beef, seven hundred barrels of flour, two thousand 
bushels of wheat, corresponding quantities of rye, oats, corn, and hay, 
and a large invoice of tents, were consumed, tlie smoke filling the air with 
a suffocating odor, and the melted pork running in streams through the 
streets. Eum was found and drank by the British soldiers, and the 
night was made hideous with their revelry. The country was aroused 
far and near. Wooster and Arnold were both in Xew Haven on fur- 
lotighs, but were quickly speeding by a forced march to the rescue, and 
Silliman was on the wing. Late in the evening a flving messenger for aid 
reached Colonel Luddington in Carmel, New York, whose men were at 

' Sergeant Natlianiel Hoyt, born 1750, was one of the rear-guard in the retreat from Long 
Island, and also from New York City (see page 127). He served in the Continental Army 
during nearly the whole pirioil of the eonHict. His home was in Danbuiy. He was de- 
sceniled in the direct line from .Simon Hoyt, who came to Salem, Massachusetts, in 1628, with 
Governor Endieott, and who was one of tlie founders of seven dili'erent towns. He was of the 
party who traveled on foot from Salem through tlje woods to e.xplore and settle Charlestown. 
In 1636 he was among the founders of Windsor, Connecticut, and a deacon in Rev. Tliomas 
Hooker's church. He bought an extensive territory of land in Fairfield County, ami with 
his sons aided in the settlement of Fairfield, Norwalk, Stamford, and Danbui-y, and also 
Deerfield, Massachusetts. His eldest son, Walter Hoyt (born 1618), was the fifth of the 
ten proprietors named in the instrument when Norwalk was incorporated in 1653, they hav- 
ing owned tlie land for twenty years. Walter's son, John Hoyt (liorn 1644), was one of 
the eight original proprietois of Danlmry in 16S5. John's son Benjamin had a son Nathan- 
iel, who was the father of Sergeant Nathaniel Hoyt, whose son Nathaniel was a resident of 
Western New York, an honored ami useful citizen, within the memory of the present genera- 
tion. The Hoyts have intermarried with the Benedicts, Trowhridges, Fields, Nashes, Lock- 
woods, Welds, and other eminent families, and have held many offices of trust civil and 
military. Among the distinguished descendants, through their mother, Mary Hoyt, are 
John Sherman, present Secretary of the Treasury, and General William Tecumseh Sherman. 
The Deerfield branch of the Hoyts tlescended from Nicholas, the second son of Simon Hoyt 
of Windsor. Several generations of the family lived in the famous old Indian House in that 
town. General Epaphras Hoyt, historian and antiquarian writer (born 1765), was one of 
four brothers, all of whom were military officeis and members of the legislature. Their 
sister married Justin Hitchcock, and was the mother of President Edward Hitchcock of 
Amherst College. 


their homes scattered over the distance of many miles ; no cue being at 
hand to call them, his daughter Sibyl Luddiugton, a spirited young girl 
of sixteen, mounted her horse in the dead of night and performed this 
service, and by breakfast-time the next morning the whole regiment was 
on its rapid march to Daubury. But the mischief had been accomplished. 
The British, apprised of the approach of the Americans in the early 
morninn of the 27th, burned all the dwelling-houses in the town, and 
retreated upon the Fairfield road towards the sound. Wooster, effecting 
a junction with Silliman, pursued and harassed them, and about noon a 
sharp fight was maintained lor upwards of an hour, in which Wooster 
fell mortally wounded at the very moment while shouting, " Come on, 
boys, never mind such random shots ! " ^ Arnold behaved wi£h remark- 
able intrepidity ; his horse was killed when within ten yards of the enemy, 
and a soldier leaped upon him with fixed bayonet, whom he instantly shot. 
The skirmishing contiimed until the whole force had re-embarked for 
New York. The enemy were so hotly pursued that they were only able 
to cross the Segatuck bridge by running at full speed. Their loss was 
between three and four hundred. General Agnew was among the 
wounded. Howe never considered the advantages gained by this exploit 
equal to the costs. 

May was marked by an act of retaliation on the part of the Americans 
which evinced so much ability of plan and boldness of execution that 
the British generals were confounded. Parsons,^ commanding in Con- 

' Major-General David Wooster, born in Stratford, Connecticut, March 2, 1710, liad 
been a valuable officer in the Frencli War ; but for twelve years prior to the Revolution was 
collector of the port of New Haven, and surrounded with all the comforts and elegances of 
wealth. His wife was the daughter of President Clap]) of Yale College. His mansion in 
Wooster Street, then isolated among country scenes, had an unobstructed view of the beau- 
tiful bay of New Haven, and was the resort of the learning and polish of the time ; his style 
of living, his bountiful table, his troupe of black domestics, his horses and his phaeton, were 
all in the highest elegance of the olden period. He was offered a high commission in the 
British army, whicli he spurned, and enrolled himself upon the side of America with the first 
knell of hostilities, drawing from his own ample foitune to equip and pay his officers and 
men. His death was deeply lamented. 

'•^ Samuel Holden Parsons was a lawyer, and one of the most scholarly writers of the 
Revolution. He was the son of Rev. Jonathan Parsons, pastor of the church in Lyme, 
Connecticut — afterwards at Newburyport, Mas.sachusetts — a protige of Rev. Jonathan 
Edwards, and the intimate friend of Whitfield. The mother of Samuel Holden Parsons was 
Phebe Griswold, the sister of Governor Matthew Griswold, and his wife was a Miss Mather, 
of Lyme, descended from the distinguished Boston Mathers. Ezra Lee, who experimented 
with Busbnell's machine for submarine navigation (see pages 98, 99), married a sister of Mrs. 
General Parsons. Inheriting brilliant ([Ualities from both father and mother, carefully 
educated, and trained in legal lore by his Mccomjilished uncle, Governor Matthew Griswold, 
General Parsons was well fitted foi- public life. He was admitted to the bar in 1759, when 


necticut, sent Colonel Meigs to destroy the military stores and provisions 
which the enemy had collected at Sagg Harbor. He sailed from New 
Haven May 21, with two hundred and thirty-four men in thirteen whale- 
boats, but the sea being rough anchored in Guilford harbor until the 23d ; 
in the afternoon they crossed the sound undiscovered bv the 

■■' May 24 

British cruisers with which it was alive, and at midnight landetl, 
concealed their boats in the woods, and marched four miles. It was two 
o'clock in the morning when they reacheil and st(jrmed Sagg Harbor, de- 
stroying twelve vessels — brigs, schooners, and sloops, one of wliicli was 
armed with twelve guns — one hundred tons of pressed hay, twelve hogs- 
heads of rum, grain, merchandise, and other stores in immense quantities, 
and captured tlie whole guard of ninety men, carrying them across the 
sound to Connecticut. All this was accomplished without tlie loss of a 
man ; and about noon on the 24th the victorious party arrived in (luil- 
ford, having been absent less than twenty-four hours. Meigs ' was 
warmly complimented for his gallantry by Washington ; and was voted 
(August 3) thanks and a sword by Congress. 

Meanwhile the Convention of New York, long since elected for the 
express purpose of establishing a state government, had been tos.sed from 
place to place — meeting at White Plains, Harlem, King.sbridge, Philipse 
Manor, Fishkill, and now at Kingston — its members performing every 
class of public duty. A committee was appointed August 1 (1776) to 
prepare and report a constitution, consisting of John Sloss Hobart, William 
Duer, Geueral John Moriu Scott, Colonel John Uroome, Charles De 
Witt, William Smith, Henry Wisuer, Samuel Townsend, Kobert Yates, 
Aliraham Yates, Eobert IJ. Livingston, Gouverneur ]\Iorris, and John Jay, 
who was made the chairman. Such, however, was the critical urgency 
for energetic action in other directions, that no time was found for the 
completion of the task until the beginning of 1777. The shaping of the 
instrument fell chiefly to Jay, Livingston, and Morris. They were young 
men — Jay thirty-two, Livingston thirty, and Morris only twenty-five — 
each possessing the best education of the time, belonging to the wealth- 
iest families in the State, and b}- birth and opportunity certain of Eoyal 

twenty-two years of age, settled in Lyme, and was elected to the Assembly of f'onnecticut 
in 1762, and siicces-sively for eighteen .sessions. After peace was restored he was appointed 
by Washington tirst judge of the Northwestern Territory. 

' Eeturn Jonathan Meigs was born in Miildletown, Connectient, in 1740; he belonged to 
one of the best families in New England, and was an officer of great ability. In 1788 he was 
one of the first settlers of Marietta, Ohio. His .son, Return Jonathan Meigs, the distinguished 
jurist and statesman, was born in Middletowii in 176."). He also settled in Marietta, was 
Chief Justice of the Ohio Superior (.'ourt in the early part of the present century, United 
States Senator from 1808 to 1810, and four years governor of Ohio. 

V(JI,. II. 11 


favor should they choose otherwise than peril their lives for civil liberty 
and self-government. We shall see. how they chose the latter. On the 
12th of March the draft in the handwriting of Jay was first read to the 
Convention hy James Duane. It was discussed by sections, and 
in all its bearings, until April 20, when it was adopted almost 
in its original form. It recites in full the Declaration of Independ- 
ence, and the unanimous resolution of the Convention (9th July) in- 
structing the New York delegates at Philadelphia to give it their support ; 
and, providing for the naturalization of foreigners, for trial by jury, for 
a militia service with recognition of the Quakers, for the protection of 
Indians within the State limits, and for absolute religious liberty, it is 
equal in the scope of its provisions and in dignity of expression to 
any similar instrument ever prepared by the hand of man. We may 
well pause with wonder at the vigorous ease with which these govern- 
ment-makers wielded the public affairs of New York at the very moment 
when nearly every county within her borders was invaded by the enemy, 
her chief city captive, her vessels burned and her store-houses empty, 
and hostile forces gathering strength at the North for a descent with fire 
and sword upon the smiling valleys of the Hudson. The Empire State 
was the last of the thirteen colonies to frame an individual government, 
but when accomplished, in the face of greater dangers than overwhelmed 
any other, it excelled them all in the largeness of its humane liberality. 
The Constitution was published on Tuesday, April 22, the church-bell 
calling the people of Kingston together at eleven o'clock in the 

April 22. o I r o o 

morning. Vice-President Van Cortlandt, with the members of the 
Convention, appeared in front of the court-house, and the secretary, 
Robert Benson, mounted upon a barrel, read the immortal document to 
the assembled multitude. Three thousand copies were immediately 
printed for distribution by John Holt, at Fishkill. 

The committee appointed to report a plan for organizing the govern- 
ment were John Jay, Robert R. Livingston, Gouverneur Morris, General 
John Morin Scott, Abraham Yates, and John Sloss Hobart. Before its 
adjournment this remarkable Convention empowered fifteen of its num- 
ber to govern the State until an election could be held for governor, 
lieutenant-governor, legislature, etc. It was called the Council of Safety, 
and wielded an absolute sovereignty. The judicial power was vested by 
the Constitution in a chancellor and judges of the Supreme Court ; local 
county courts and a probate judiciary were constituted ; while a final 
appellate court, both in law and equity, was to be formed by the senate, 
the chancellor, and the judges of the Supreme Court. For the immediate 
execution of the laws, Robert R. Livingston was elected chancellor, John 


o 5^ 


o ^i 

o o 

3 ;: 

5 g 

01 to 



Jay chief justice, Eobert Yates ^ ami J<jlm Sluss Hobart* jmlges uf the 
Supreme Court, and Egbert Benson ^ attorney-general. Each county 
was provided with judicial officers, that the courts so Ion" closed 

May 3. 

might be reopened. The first judge for the county of Albany 
was Volkert Peter Douw, and the other judges were Jacob C. Ten Eyck, 
Abraham Ten Broeck, Henry Bleecker, Walter Livingston, and John A. 
Ten Eyck. Eor Dutchess County, Ephraim Paine, Zephaniah Piatt, and 
Anthony Hoffman were elected ; tor Ulster County, Levi Pawling and 
Dirck Wyncoop. 

The day following was Sunday. But there was no rest for the weary 
legislators. Three commissioners were appointed, Jolm Jay, Colonel 
Henry Luddington, and Colonel Thomas, to (^uell and subdue insurrections 
and disaft'ection in the counties of I)utchess and Westchester, and tlirected 
to co-operate with Kobert \l. Livingston, Zephaniah Piatt, and Matthew 
Cantine (the committee for a like in the manor of Livingston), 
and to ,call aid from the militia of George Clinton and McDougall 
whenever needful. The commissioners were also commanded to use 
every means in their power (torture e.xcepted) to compel the discovery 
of spies or other emissaries of the enemy. 

John Jay declined the nomination for governor.* The office was be- 
stowed upon George Clinton, who was elected in June and inaugurated 
July 30. Pierre Van Cortlandt, as president of the Council of Safety 
and of the new senate, became lieutenant-governor of the State. 

Before the end of May Wa.shington had formed his plans for the dis- 
posal of his army in such a manner that the widely separated parts 
might reciprocally aid each other. It was supposed that Burgoyne, who 
was now in command of the British forces at the Xorth, would endeavor 
to take Ticonderoga and penetrate the Hudson, and that Howe would 
either attack the Highlands or Philadelphia. As a convenient point from 
which to move as soon as the enemy's intentions were further developed, 

1 Kobert Yates was born in Schenectady, New York, Jan. 27, 1738. Received a classical 
education in New Yorli City, became a lawyer, and was admitted to the bar in Albany in 
nOO. He was a jurist and statesman of distinction ; was chief justice of the State from 
1790 to 1798. 

2 John .'^loss Hobart was born in Fairfield, Connecticut, in 1738 ; he was the son of the 
eminent Fairfield clergyman, Eev. Noah Hobart, and had been carefully educated in eviMy 
phase of ancient and modern lore. After the war he was one of the three judges of the 
.Supreme Court of New York ; and was also United States Senator frohi New York. 

3 Egbert Benson, who subsequently held a high rank in junsprudence and in letters, was 
then thirty years of age. He was bom in New York City, June 21, 1746, and was one of the 
early graduates of King's (Columbia) College. 

< The intellect, character, culture, and social distinction of John Jay, and the prominence 



Washington advanced from Morristown to tiie ridge of strong antl com- 
manding heights in the rear of Plaiufield and Scotch Plains, where from 
the rocks in tioiit of his camp he could look down upon the Earitan, the 
road to I'liiladclphia, and a considerable portion ol' the country between 
Amboy and Trenton. Sidlivan was at Princeton, and Lord Stirling, Greene, 
and other officers were upun the plains which intervened between the main 
army and New Brunswick. Arnold was with MitHin in Philadelphia, 

with wliich lie figured in our natiouiil development, leads us to penetrate beneath the surface 
of historical narrative for further light respecting his origin and the influences under which 

he was reared. To the Hugue- 
not movement, which brought 
so much of the best blood of 
France to our shores, America 
is indebted for this great jur- 
ist and statesman. His grand- 
father, Augustus Jay, came to 
New York in 1686, when twen- 
ty-one years of age. He was 
the son of Pierre Jay, of La 
Rochelle ; he was born March 
23, 1665, and at the age of 
fourteen was sent to England 
for his education. He was ab- 
sent in 1685, on an exploring 
expedition to the coast of Africa, 
when his father's family found 
refuge from persecution in Eng- 
land. (See Vol. I. 696, 697.) 
He came to New York, and ob- 
tained letters of denization 
from Governor Dorgau on the 
4th of March. While on a 
voyage to Hamburg in 1692, he 
«as captured by jurates, but 
eH'ected his escape, and reached 

, . , La Rochelle, France, where he 

Augustus Jay, 

Bom at La Rochelle.France. March 33. 1665. died at New York. Nov, 16. .756. '^^^ secreted by hlS mother S 
(From tlie portrait ill the possession of Miss Eliza Clarkson Jay. 1 .sister, Madame Mouclxard, and 

embarked on a vessel for Denmark ; from there he jiroceeded to Plymouth, Englaml, anil visited 
liis father's family. His brother Lsaac was in the Huguenot regiment which fought so bravely 
for William 111., under Count Sehomberg, and died from wounds received at the battle of 
the Pjoyne. His sister Fiances married Ste]>hen Pelai|uiii of Bristol, England, whose son 
David was afti'iwards mayor of Bristol. Returning to New York, Augustus Jay married, in 
1697, Anna Maria, daughter of Balthazar Bayard. He was a man of uiilileniished character, 
and po.ssessed all the graces and accomplishments which distinguished the French of that 
period; his wealth and scholarship, together with his fine presence and engaging manners, 
rendered him one of the notable personages of his time. His son, Peter, born in 1704, and 
educated in Europe, who married Mary Van Cortlandt, was the father of Joliii Jay, residing 
in the evening of his life in Rye, New York. 


],jrei«rin^ for its detuuse. Howe's object was the Quaker City, aud be 
e\i(leutly preferred the straight route across New Jersey; the demonstra- 
tion was made, on the loth of June, of being about to force his way, l)ut 
he was so harassed by small parties without drawing Washington into a 
genei'al engagement, tliat he suddenly retreated to Amboy aud began to 
pass his troops over to Staten Island. To cover the light parties detached 
to injure the British, Washington moved with the main army to Quibble- 
town, the van under Stirling proceeding to the Metucheu meeting-house, 
with orders to act according to circumstances, but in no case to bring on 
a general . engagement. Howe wheeled suddenly about, recalling his 
troops from .Staten Island, and on the night of the 25th marched in 
two colunms for the Jieiglits and passes on the American left. 
Washington received timely intelligence and fell back to his 
sti'onghold at Jliddlebrook. During this retrograde movement, Stirling 
encountered the Britisii right column under Cornwallis, and a spirited 
engagement ensued at Scotch Plains ; but he joined Washington ujion 
the heights witliout severe Upon the brow of the mountain in the 
rear of riaintieid is a bold projecting rock, at an elevation of four iiun- 
dred feet, where tradition says Washington often stood during these five 
days, taking observations. BatHed in his main design, Howe 
withdrew from New Jersey. On the 30th he embarked with 
sixteen thousand troops, the fleet prepared apparently for a long voyage. 

Tlie purposes of Howe were inexplicable to Washington. According 
to the science of war he would naturally aim to effect a junction with 
Burgoyne, who was marching with a strong force against Ticonderoga ; 
and his route would be the smiling valley of the Hudson. Therefore the 
American posts in the Highlands were strengthened. But the fleet, after 
lolling in the hot July sun for two weeks, finally disappeared from New 
York harbor, and Washington nuist needs make Philadelphia his princi- 
pal care. He moved his main arniv to Germantown, and conferred with 
Congress, which luid retin-ned to Philadelphia. 

In the interim a brilliant achievement raised the spirits of the army. 
The Britisii General Piescott commanded in Pihode Island, and was 
([uartered in a house about five miles from Newport. Colonel William 
Barton, an intrepid young officer from Providence, learned the situation 
through a deserter, and with forty men rowed across Narragansett Bay in 

the dead of night, Julv 10, iiassed three frigates unobserved, 
, , , . July 10. 

landed noiselessly and stole along three fourths of a mile to head- 
quarters, passing the general's guard not two hundred yards from his 
window, seized the sentry, burst into the house, and reached Prescott's 
door before an alarm could be given ; as this was not opened instantly 


on demand, the colored guide broke in the panels with his head, and 
Barton, springing forward, saw a man sitting np in bed. " Are you Gen- 
eral Prescott I " he asked. " I am, sir," was the reply. " You are my 
prisoner," said Barton. " I acknowledge it," replied Prescott. Silence 
was compelled, and the humiliated general was hurried, undressed, into 
the night-fog, over a fence, and through a rye-tield where blackberry 
briers prevailed, much to his discomfort ; he was desired to run, but he 
said he was an old man and could not. Therefore a strong hand taking 
jiini under the arm on each side enabled him to run. " Gentlemen, do 
you mean to kill me ? " he exclaimed. " No, we mean to exchange you 
for General Lee, and after that we do not care how soon the devil has 
you," was the reply. They reached the boats and rovi'ed back the same 
way they came, passing the men-of-war and forts undiscovered. When 
they were nearing Warwick Neck, fire rockets and alarm-guns revealed 
the consternation upon the island. A flag was sent in the morning for 
the general's 'clothes. 

This admirably conducted enterprise furnisiied Washington the means 
of exchanging an officer of equal rank with Lee, which was accomplished 
in due course of events. Had Lee's character been as well understood 
then as now he would not have been wanted by the Americans at any 
price. He had been busy, while Congress and Washington were tenderly 
guardinji his interests and striving for his release, in writing out and 
presenting to Lord and General Howe an elaborate plan for reducing the 
Americans. The evidence of this trea.son, the document itself, dated 
March 29, 1777, has been discovered and given to the world by the emi- 
nent scholar, George H. Moore. ^ Lee commanded little respect in the 
British mind, and his counsels were in the main unheeded. If he in- 
fluenced in any .slight degree the southern movement of the Howes, they 
had less reason than before to honor his military judgment. 

Swiftly following the capture of Prescott came tidings of the loss 
of that enchanted castle in popular imagination, Ticonderoga. It had 
been invested by Burgoyne ; and evacuated by General St. Clair on the 
night of July 5th. The indefatigable exertions and appeals of Schuyler 
for an increase of military strength were counteracted by the intrigues ot 
Gates ; Schuyler had even been displaced, at the very moment when Bur- 
goyne's splendidly appointed army was crossing the ocean, and it was 
late in May before he was restored to the command. The peril then 
was close at hand, and it was impossible to collect men ; thus the garri- 

1 Treason of Major-Gcncral Charles Lee, by George H. Moore ; Bancroft's Hist. United 
States ; F. Moore's Loyalist Poetry of the Revolution ; Shaw to Elliot, March 4, 1777 ; Sir 
Joseph Yorke to the Foreign Office, March 7, 1777 ; DeLancey's Notes to Jones's History, 
Vol. I. 672; Watson's Annals of Philadelph ill. 


soil was totally inadequate for tha defense of the position against sucli a 
brilliant pageant as swept over the historic waters of Lake Champlaiu on 
the 1st of July. The importance of this fortress was overestimated both 
in England and America, as proven by subsequent events. Still the peo- 
ple of New York, having regarded it as the bulwark of their safety, were 
terror-stricken, not knowing whither to fly. They feared the savages 
more than the British, and tlie Hessians more thau the savages ; and the 
forests were swarming with wildcats and wolves. The Tories were julii- 
lant. And when the news reached England the king rushed into the 
queen's apartment, exclaiming, " I have beat them, I have beat all the 
Americans 1 " Even Lord Germain announced the fall of Ticouderoga in 
Parliament, as if it had been decisive of the fate of the colonies. 

The Council of Safety at Kingston sent Gouverneur IMorris and Abraham 
Yates immediately to Schuyler's headquartei-s at Fort Edward, to confer 
as to' the most efficient measures for the protection of the State. They 
encountered rumors of disaster and depredation at the Xoith and West 
which were appalling. They found Schuyler hopeful amid his pei-plexi- 
ties, hastening to assemble his army at JMoses Creek, five miles from 
hence, and employing scores of brave men in the woods to fell trees 
across the road, letting them droj^ from both sides, their branches min- 
gling ; they tumbled trees into the fordalde rivers, and interposed every 
other obstacle whicli ingenuit}' could devise to emliarrass Burguyne ; at tlie 
same time cattle were driven lieyoud his reach, and bridges and saw-mills 
destroyed. Within the twenty-one miles which he must needs march to 
reach Port Edward, the country was so broken with streams or swamps 
that he was obliged to construct not than forty bridges, one of which, 
a log-work over a moi'ass, was two miles long. It was a wet season, and 
when dry was not a pleasant land to journey through. But the excep- 
tional difficulties at which Burgoyne stood aghast were the result of 
Schu3der's sagacity. Brockholst Livingston, son of Governor Livingston 
of New Jersey (afterwards a judge residing in Xew York City), then 
twenty years of age, was Schuyler's most efficient aide-de-camp, and was 
constantly conveying orders through the woods ; Matthew Clarksou, Liv- 
ingston's cousin, joined Schuyler's .staff at tliis point. The committee 
thouglit tliat Schuyler, from being ]iersoually acquainted with the passes 
autl defiles, miglit witli suitable aid eft'ectually defeat Burgoyne. 

P)Ut all eyes having been turned towards Ticouderoga as the Gibraltar 
of tlie Americans, its abandonment caused a panic of alarm and disap- 
]iointment. The voice of censure against its commanders resounded from 
one end of the continent to the other, and was industriously sustained 
bv Gates and those whom he had won over to liis interests. Both 


Schuyler and St. Clair were accused of military negligence, and even of 
complicity with the enemy. Party spirit, fomented by jealousies of long 
standing, deafened the public ear to the true reasons of the case, ■ — or 
their palliating circumstances. - Time and investigation proved that St. 
Clair had acted the part of a judicious and skillful officer. And the vista 
of a century reveals Schuyler's wisdom, integrity, breadth of vision, and 
nobility of character, in a light wliich will radiate undimnied in all the 
future. He was the real conqueror of Burgoyne, and thereby rendered 
services to the country second only to those of Washington in importance 
and extent. He had the sympathy of the New York government and 
the confidence of Washington through all his trials ; Congress, slighting 
the very authority it had bestowed upon Washington so recently, sent 
Gates to supersede Schuyler, to whom the latter gave, upon his arrival in 
camp August 19, the cordial reception of a soldier and a gentleman.' 

But thrilling events had transpired ere Gates, with the powers and the 
aid hitherto entreated by Schuyler in vain, reached his destination. The 
storm had broken iipon Central New York. News passed like a whirl- 
wind througli the Mohawk Valley that St. Leger with picked soldiers, 
accompanied by Sir John Johnson and his Pioyal Greens, and Brandt at 
the head of one thousand Indians, were coming eastward from Lake On- 
tario down the Mohawk River — and it was said they had offered twenty 
didlars i'or every American scalp. It was a terrible hour. The country 
was roused with horror. Sir John Johnson was known to be a powerful 
leader of men. He possessed the magnetism which inspired devotion. 
His regiment was composed of his kinsmen, neighbors, and tenants. Even 
his slaves were provided with weapons ready to obey his slightest nod. 
He was both a knight and a baronet. His princely domain was here, 
stretching off beyond the horizon ; broader and more valuable than any 
other private estate in the colonies, save perhaps those of William Penn 
and Lord Fairfax. After he broke his parole and went through the woods 
into Canada, his wife, Mary Watts, daughter of Councilor John Watts, a 
lady of great beauty, was taken to Albany as a hostage for his good lie- 
havior. She was allowed to reside with a venerable aunt, accompanied 
liy her sister and children, but given to understand that if her husband 
appeared in arms against the Americans, or if she attempted to escape, 
she would be the victim of retaliation. The following November she 

1 The Burgoyne Campaign, by Jolin Austin Stevens ; Lord Mahon's History of England , 
Major-General Philip Schuyler and the Burgoyne Campaign, by General John Watts de Pey- 
ster ; BancrofCs Hist.. United States ; Central New York in the Revolution, by Cam|i- 
bell ; Burgoyne' s Surrender, by William L. Stone ; Address 0/ Horatio Seymour; Oration Ijy 
Geort;e William Curtis ; DeLanccy's Notes to Jones's History of Nciv York ; Stcdman ; Lossiny; 
Sparks : Irving. 


applied to the Convention for permission to go to New York, which was 
denied ; but she was allowed to take up her abode with the family of 
Cadwallader Coldeii, at Coldenham, in Ulster County. Thtt' first thin;4 
she did was to send a trusty messenger to Johnson Hall, for one of Sir 
John's tenants to come to her with a sleigh and a pair of good horses. 
The man appeared as directed, and her ladyship and sister. Miss Watts, 
disguised in servants' dresses, started in the evening, traveling all night, 
and reached Paulus Hook ne.xt morning, where Sir John, who was in 
New York City, received and provided for her. Thus no restraint could 
now be imposed upon Sir John's movements, since his family were safe 
under British protection, and he plunged into tiie strife with a bitterness 
scarcely to be equaled. And he was as brave and energetic as he was 
vindictive. Jones says that he did more mischief to the rebel settlements 
upon the frontiers of New York than all the jiartisans in the British ser- 
vice put together. 

The inhabitants of the region, who paled with terror at the approach of 
this foe, were nearly all patriots, the Tories having either followed Sir 
John, otherwise escaped, or been imprisoned by the existing authorities. 
On the site of Eome stood Fort Stanwix, the garrison commanded by 
Colonel Peter Gansevoort, a young officer of twenty-eight, cool and reso- 
lute, aided by the bold and experienced Marinus Willett. The militia of 
Tryon County were quickly as.sembled to aid in its, and eight 
hundred, led by General Nichols Herkimer, chairman of tiie County Com- 
mittee of Safety, were hastening to the fort on the dark, hot, sultry summer 
morning of August 6 ; when within six miles (and two miles west 

. Aug. 6. 

of the Oriskany Creek, which is some eight miles from Utica), they 
were obliged to cross a bog and small stream in a ravine, by a primitive 
corduroy road, and found themselves all at once in a deadly ambush pre- 
pared by Sir John Johnson, wlio had been notified of their movements by 
the sister of Brandt. Here in this deep defile for six doubtful, desperate 
hours, without lines, or fort, or artillery, hand to hand, with knife and 
rifle, with tomahawk and spear, swaying and struggling, slipping in blood 
and stumbling over the dead and dying, raged the mtjst bloody battle of 
the seven years' war for American Independence — and, indeed, of all 
modern history. After the smoke cleared from the first exchange of 
rifle-shots, the Imllow became a whirlpool of vengeance ; neighbors and 
kinsmen recognized as they slew each other; even brothers with uplifted 
spears rushed into deadly embrace. The Indians were crazed with the 
horrible scene and slaughtered indiscriminately. With the first voUey 
Herkimer was mortally wounded and his killed ; but, ordering his 
saddle to the foot of a tree against which he could lean for support, he calndy 


directed his troops. There were no Briton born soldiers, no Hessians, no 
professional fighters in this combat, but New York men, children of the 
soil almost exclusively, kindred struggling with kindred ibr supremacy. 
The courage exhibited on both sides was marvelous. Sir John's brother- 
in-law, Stephen Watts of New York City, a gallant young officer of 
twenty-two, who led the advance-guard of the enemy from Oswego, was 
pierced many times with a bayonet, and lost one of his limbs, but was 
found alive three days after the battle and conveyed to camp by Sir 
John's Indians. He recovered. Colonel Willett sallied from the fort 
and vigorously attacked the main army of St. Leger, which diversion en- 
abled the militia to beat off the adversary. But, alas ! full four hundred 
were dead or wounded, including many leading and influential men. 
St. Leger wrote to Burgoyne that almost all the principal movers of the 
rebellion in Tryon County were among the slain. There was scarcely a 
habitation in the Mohawk Valley that was not in mourning for the loss 
of father, husband, brother, or son. Never had militia, caught in a trap, 
defended themselves with more valor, or died to better ulterior advantage 
for their country. Willett's exploit, without losing a man, resulted in 
bringing into the fort twenty or more wagon-loads of captured articles, 
including the gala fur robes and blankets of the Indians, and five English 
flags which were triumphantly displayed before evening on the flag-staff 
directly beneath the first "stars and stripes" ever unfurled under the 
Act of Congress of June 14. This pioneer United States banner was a 
curious piece of needlework, the white stripes having been cut out oi 
ammunition shirts, the blue stripes fashioned from a camlet cloak which 
Willett had taken from the enemy at Peekskill in March-, and the red 
stripes made of stuff contributed by one and another- of the garrison. St. 
Leger was stunned by the obstinacy of the resistance, and Albany 
began to seem to him a great way off. He invested the fort, but the 
Indians had lost, with eighty or moie of their number, including several 
favorite chiefs, their taste for fighting, and hearing that Arnold, sent by 
Schuyler, was coming up the valley with " thousands of men," they 
robbed the British officers of their clothes, plundered the stores, and ran 
away. St. Leger's forces were demoralized, and he finally retraced his 
steps to Canada. The blood of Central New York was not shed in vain ; 
the sacrifice rendered Burgoyne's I'ight arm powerless. 

Before Burgoyne learned the fate of St. Leger, he sent (August 11) an 
expedition to capture an American depot of sui)plies at Bennington ; it 
was commanded by Colonel Baum, and consisted of five hundred Hessians, 
a select corps of British marksmen, a numerous party of Tories, and a 
hundred or more Indians. But they never reached Bennington. New 


England was as belligerent as New Yorlc had been at Stanwix, The 
hero, John Stark, was a favorite conmiauder, although not at this time 
holding any commission, and the militia ol' New Hampshire sprang from 
their summer work at his call. Anticipating Burgoyne's measure, he 
had reached Bennington on the 9tli, William Whipple, a signer of the 
Declaration of Independence I'rom ilaine, commanding one of the accom- 
panying brigades. The news of the enemy's ajiproach brought out the 
militia from every quarter. Berkshire was all activit3^ Parson Allen 
came from Pittstield in his chaise, and complained because Stark did not 
begin the conflict in the midst of a heavy rain on the loth. " If the 
Lord shall once more give us sunshine," exclaimed Stark in reply, " and 
I do not give your men of Berkshire fighting enough, I '11 never ask you 
to come out again." That same day the Indians l)egan to desert Bauni. 
They said the woods were " full of Yankees." He had intrenched upon 
an eminence, within sight of the Bennington steeples some seven miles 
distant, upon the soil of Hoosac, New York. And drip])ing in the storm, 
harassed with uncertainty, about the tactics of the Americans, irritated 
by the conduct of his savage allies, and subjected to the perpetual stings 
of skirmishing parties, his situation was anything but enviable. On 
the IGth Stark skillfully surrounded the M'hole British force, 

Aug. 16. 

attacking upon every side simultaneously at a given signal ; the 
farmers swept up the hill with fiery and resistless fury, seized the blazing 
guns, drove the veteran troops as if they were wild animals threatening 
their homes, and became masters of the field. As they swarmed over the 
breastworks Baum attempted to cut his way out, but fell mortally 
wounded, and his worn-out troops surrendered. The contest lasted two 
liours ; then came a brief lull and a reinforcement from Burgoyne, which 
had occupied thirty hours in marching twenty-four miles, and the onset 
was renewed, Colonel Seth Warner aiding Stark with a fresh regiment 
from Bennington. The second fight raged until sunset, when the foe 
retreated ujion a run, chased by the Americans until quite dark. The 
arms, artillery, and ammunition-wagons captureil were of special value at 
this crisis. The prisoners in the hands of Stark numbered seven hun- 
dred, while the loss of the British was over two hundred in killed and 
wounded. The Americans lost less than one hundred. It mms a victory 
wliich quickened the pulse of tlie nation ; a victory won upon the soil of 
New York by the sons of New England, and which rendered the left arm 
of Burgoyne i)owerless. 

It was now that the haughty Burgoyne, who had airily boasted in 
London that with an army of ten thousand men he could promenade 
through America, found himself brought to a halt. He saw that he had 


beeu deceived as to the sentiment of the country. He discovered tliat 
the Indians were irresponsible beings, and like spoiled children grew 
more unreasonable and importunate with every new favor. And he 
learned the unwelcome truth that while within iorty-seven miles of the 
chief town of a great agricultural region he must look to Canada for his 
daily food ; it was almost a' month before he had accumulated supplies 
neces.sary for any further advance. And these triumphs had all been 
accomplished before Gates assumed command of the Northern department. 

The outlook of the British campaign of 1777 had been interesting ujxin 
paper. Burgoyne was to move southward by Lake Champlain, Howe 
northward by the Hudson Eiver, and St. Leger eastward from Lake On- 
tario. They were to meet at Albany. The whole strength of the English 
nation was aimed at the heart of New York. The fleets, tiie armies, and 
the savage allies were to follow converging lines and unite in the final 
blow. The study of America had convinced England that New York, 
physically as well as morally, was the great objective point to be con- 
quered. That, once in possession of the stronghold of her commanding 
system of mountains and valleys, the American rebellion would be crushed. 

In the session of Parliament from the 31st of October, 1776, to the 6th 
of June, 1777, America was the principal topic of discussion. Opinions 
clashed perpetually. Lord Rockingham in one house wished rather to give 
up America and embrace her as an ally than to carry on so destructive 
a wai'. Lord Cavendish in the other declared the war useless and unjust, 
and the conduct of it ineffectual, barbarou.s, and iuhunian. Lord Sandwich 
was for forcing the Americans to submit even to the last drop of their 
blood. Lord Shelburne was not afraid to declare that America was justi- 
fiable in her resistance from the beginning. Another member described 
the Americans as a cowardly banditti -who talked loudly, and ran lustily 
when faced by men of courage. Fo,\ called the affair of Long Island 
" terrible," and saw nothing in it worthy of triumph. In relation to the 
bill empowering His Majesty to secure and detain persons charged with 
or suspected of high treason committed in North America, he cried out, 
" Who knows but the ministers in the fullness of their malice may take it 
into their heads that I have served on Long Island under General Wash- 
ington ? " " Our own liberties are in danger," exclaimed Wilkes. The 
Uuke of Grafton e.xpressed day by day the most marked abhorrence of the 
course pursued against America. Edmund Burke would have made peace 
on any terms. In the early part of May, 1777, David Hartley advised a 
measure in the shape of an address to the king " to rescue the honor ot 
England from being brought to disgrace by the attempt of impossibilities." 
It was in substance to make a gift of independence to America, while 


Eiinliiud might be said to have anything in her power to give. He urged 
t(jr an immediate suspension of hostilities. In his opinion America was 
the rising world, which would in a few years be multiplied an hundred- 
iVjkl, and her friendship was worth preserving. He warned Parliament (if 
the misrepresentations or ignorance of the ministry as to the general sense 
of the people of America, and predicted certain defeat and disasters, with an 
enormous waste of public money. A few days before the session termi- 
nated (^lay I3(JJ Lord Chatham, after two years of sickness and seclusion, 
came to the House of Lords, wrapped in flannels, to lift his voice once 
more against this mad and impracticable war. " You cannot conquer the 
Americans," he said. " Your powerful forces may ravage ; they cannot 
conipier. I might as well talk of driving them before me with this 
crutch ! You have sent, too many to make peace, too few to make war. 
We are the aggressors. We have invaded them. We have tried for un- 
conditional submission ; try what can be gained now by unconditional 
redress." His motion was for the redress of all American grievances, 
and the right of Americans to dispose of their own property. The de- 
bate which ensued called Ibrth the highest energies of Ijoth contending 
jiarties. But the motion was lost. The ministry had already obtained 
the vote of Parliament for one hundred thousand men and teu millions 
of money. David Hartley wrote : " Coercion, and not conciliation, was 
from the very first the secret and adopted plan. The decisive periods 
were during the first three sessions of this Parliament ; the first, opening 
in November, 1774, laid the foundation of the war, the other two threw 
away the pearl of peace, when it was in their hands, and drove America 
to the irrevocable extremities of independence and foreign alliance." ■* 

The arrogant ministry, who liad uniformly withheld every tlocument of 
information from Parliament, watched the moves on tlieir great Artiericau 
chess-board with exultant pride. The failure of St. Leger was hushed 
into silence. Lord Germain through sheer negligence omitted to sign 
and send the explicit orders for Howe's movements, which had been pre- 
pared, but which were found in the minister's office in London late in the 
Autumn.2 Had this fact been known at the time, the luystery of Howe's 
ocean dance about the capes of Delaware while the king's forces at the 
North were in such dire peril would not have been so diflicult of solution. 
How-e liad resolved to take Philadelphia by sea, and a circuitous route 
had wasted nearlv the whole month of August ; he tinallv lauded 

Aug. 25. 

at the Head of Elk on the 2.3th, farther from the (^)uaker City 

than he was in June, while at New Brunswick. Here he recruited his 

1 Hnrtktf's Lcltcrs on the American Way, 3, 31; Pari. Hist. 
• Fonblanquc's Biirr/oync, 232, 233. 


army for several days, permitting au iudiscriminate plunder not only of 
horses, cattle, and sheep, but of everything else that fell in the way of 
the soldiers, without distinction of AVhigs and Tories. 

Meanwhile the Marquis de Lafayette, with the veteran Baron de Kalb, 
and ten other French ofticers seeking service, arrived in Philadelphia by 
the way of the Carolinas, creating no little sensation. The romance ut- 
tendini' the manner in which this rich young nobleman had baffled every 
obstacle to reach and offer his services to America as a volunteer without 
pa^^ made him au object of interest alike to the army and to the world. 
He was less than twenty years of age, the husband of a beautiful woman, 
a daughter of the illustrious house of NoaiUes, himself of high birth, 
and with ample means for every lu.xury. While preparing in secret a 
vessel for his voyage, he visited London, ^where his kinsman, the Marquis 
of Noailles, was ambas.sador. He was presented to King George and 
graciously received. He also met Sir Henry Clinton at the opera, wlio 
had come home on a winter leave of absence. And he declined an in- 
vitation to visit the naval armament at Portsmouth, as, mindful of his 
own hostile designs, he did not deem it proper to pry into the military 
forces of the kingdom. His first introduction to Washington was at 
a dinner-party in Philadelphia which included several members of Con- 
gress ; before they separated Washington invited liim to become a mem- 
ber of his military family, which invitation was gratefully accepted. 
Throu'di him Wasliington learned more clearly the temper of France. 
Franklin's visit had produced a profound impression. The amiable Louis 
XVI. hesitated about involving the nation in another war with England, 
but it was generally understood that the United States would receive 
secret succors and warlike stores. 

John Jay and Gouverueur Morris traveled to and from Philadelphia 
during the hot days of August ; tarrying a few hours in Percepany, New 
Jersey, where Mrs. Jay and her infant son, Peter Augustus, were spending 
the summer months with the family of her father. Governor Livingston. 
They were obliged to journey with the utmost caution, as marauding ex- 
peditions froni New York and Staten Lsland were prowling continually on 
the Jersey shores and far into the country. Sullivan, who had been left 
with his command when Washington quitted the State, attempted retalia- 
tion by crossing with a force of one thousand to Staten Island, August 22, 
of which Aaron Ogden and Frederick Frelinghuysen were conspicuous 
officers, and captured two loyalist regiments from New Jersey, with eleven 
officers. The prisoners were sent off in a prize vessel ; but the American 
rear-guard was attacked before they could re-embark, and after au ob- 
stinate conflict forced to surrender ; the loss was one hundred and sixt\'- 



two. Sullivan I'oimd orders, when he regained hi.s caniji, to join Wash- 
iugton, who, parading his army decked with sprays of green through the 
streets of Philadelphia on the 24th, proceeded to the highlands beyond 
Wilmington, to meet Howe on his route to Philadelphia. On the 25tli, 
General Francis Nash, brother of Governor Abner Nash of North Cani- 
lina, with his brave North Carolinians, marched also througli the streets 
of Philadelphia and joined Washington. Meanwhile Sir Henry Clinton, 
retaliating upon Sullivan, .sallied out of New York with three thousand 
troops and overran a considerable portion of the eastern section of New 
Jersey, causing much alarm and distress, robbing and insulting the in- 
habitants and seizing their valuable live stock. With the uprising of the 
militia he returned to 
the city with slight loss. 
The details of these out- 
rages were published in 
the American news- 
papers, frequently mag- 
nified, but with suffi- 
cient foundation in truth 
to alienate any people 
from the perpetrators. 
Governor Livingston had 
already begun to make 
his pen useful in the 
cause of America ; and 
to counteract the effects 
of Eivington's loyalist 
paper in New York, he 
aided Isaac Collins in 
establishing Tlic New 
Jersey Gazette at Bur- 
lington, which, removing 
from town to town as 
policy or prudence dictated, continued throughout the war the leading 
vehicle of information in this State. Livingston's essays, through their 
bold reasoning and scoffing ridicule of kingly threats, ilid more to pre- 
vent vacillation and fear, and convince the New Jersey patriots that 
ultimate success on the part of Great Britain was impossible, than any 
other agency. And while he was presiding over the Council of Safety, 
sometimes at Trenton, sometimes at Jlorristown, and anywhere in the 
mountains or woods between, his bright and gifted daughters wrote his 
caustic articles for him. 


'V r 

John Jay. 

[From a porlrait m tlie possession of his grandson. Hon John Jay.] 


On the 9tli of September, two days before Howe met Washington be- 
low Pliiladelphia, while Biirgoyne was moving slowly down upon AlViany 
from the North like a terrible cloud, and Sir Heiny L'linton was 

Sept. 9 

menacing the Hudson River passage to form a junction with him 
— shortly to reduce the building where the scene occurred, together with 
the whole village, to ashes — John Jay, the first chief justice of the new 
State of New York, opened its supreme court in Kingston, charging the 
grand jury that the people of New York had chosen their Constitution 
under the guidance of reason and experience, and that the highest re- 
spect had been made to those great and equal rights of human .nature 
wliich sliould ever remain inviolate in every society. " You will know," 
he said, " no power Init such as you create, no laws but such as acquire 
all their obligations from your consent. The rights of conscience and 
private judgment are by nature subject to no control but that of the 
Deity, and in that free situation they are now left." He stood in his 
robes, this tall, straight, slight, self-poised young man, a power more for- 
midable than fleets and armies, as he uttered these lofty ideas, declaring 
that " Divine Providence had made the tyranny of princes instrumental 
in breaking the chains of their subjects." On the 10th, George Clinton, 
the first governor, met the first legislature of the new State at Kingston, 
and its noble Constitution received the first principles of life. 

And just across the borders, in Connecticut, during the same hour of 
threatened calamity at every point of the compass, the clergymen who 
comprised the corporation of Yale College elected a new president. 
There is something almost sublime in the calm, business-like faith of this 
action, in the midst of the tumults which affected all colleges, and with 
the picture before their eyes of Nassau Hall, at Princeton, used as 
baiTacks above and a stable below, and its fine library, the gift of Gov- 
ernor Belcher, scattered to the four winds by the enemy. These clerical 
trustees were established over parishes in different parts of the State. 
They were the Reverends Eliphalet Williams, Warham Williams, Moses 
Dickinson, John Trumbull, Moses Mather, Eliezer Goodrich, Samuel 
Lockwood, Mr. Pitkin, Nathaniel Taylor,^ Mr. Beckwith, and the accom- 

1 The Rev. Nathaniel Taylor was pastor of the church in New Milford, in the north- 
western part of Connecticut, adjoining Dutchess County, New York. He was a trustee of 
Yale College twenty-six years, a pastor fifty years. He was a famous Hebrew scholar, 
ranked high in the pulpit, and possessed a fine graceful figure and a magnificent voice. He 
served as cha]jlain to a Connecticut regiment of troops, and remitted one year's salary to 
aid his people in their contributions to the war. His niotlicr was a descendant of Thomas 
Benedict (see Vol. I. 202) ; his wife was a .sister of Governor Boardnum, and daugliter of 
the first minister of Ne\v Milford. He was the grandfatlicr of the learned theological pro- 
fessor. Rev. Dr. Nathaniel W. Taylor of Yale, who died in 18.58, and of Dr. Ceorge Taylor of 
New Milford. Amon.!,' liis great-grandchildren is the wife of President Noah Porter, of Yale ; 
also the wife of Hon. Tlioiuas E. Stewart, of New York City. 



( I 

lilished Stephen Johnson of Lyme. Rev. Ezra Slile.?, one of tlje purest 
ami gifted men of his age, who had been pastor of the ehurch in 
Newport from 175G until tlie invasion by the British, was their choice. 
He was informed of his election by liev. Chauucey Whittlesey. Stiles 
said he thought " the diadena of a college president but a crown of thorns 
in such tumultuous times, especially when he must control from one hun- 
dred and fifty to one hundred and eighty young gentlemen students, who 
were a bundle of wildfire, some leaving for the army, and many coming 
in from other colleges." But he accepted the position, and the instruction 
of the rising men of the nation went forward among the leafy shades of 
New Haven, as if Revolution was not stalking abroad in the land. 

The crash of arms 
came l)etween Howe 
and Washington on the 
morning of September 
11, at the same mo- 
ment when Burgoyne, 
supposing that Howe 
was pushing up the 
Hudson, announced to 
his camp that 
he had sent the 
lake fleet to Canada, 
virtually aliandoning 
his communications, 
and that his army must 
fight its way or i)erish. 
Upon the banks of a 
l)eautiful creek Ijear- 
ing the genial name of 
Brandywine, and flow- 
ing into the Delaware 
River, Washinsiton, 

Sept. 11. 


Mrs. John Jay. 

Sarah. fl.iUL,'htcr of tiovernor William Livingston. 
n a portrait ill the possession of her grandson, Hon. John Jay.] 

posted across the direct road of his adversary, awaited his approach ; he 
had made the best possible arrangement of his forces for resistance or 
attack, and as he rode up and down his lines there was one prolonged 
shout of enthusiasm. Knyphausen soon appeared at Chad's Ford and 
• feigned an attack, while Howe and Coruwallis were hastening to cross 
the river seven miles farther up and obtain the rear of the Ameri- 
cans. Recei^dng this information, Washington ordered Sullivan to check 
their course, while he wordd give Knyphausen a chance to light in 
vor., [[. 12 


earnest. Just as Greene at tlie river's edge was about to begin the attack, 
a message from Sullivan came, saying that lie had disobeyed orders be- 
cause the " information upon which those orders were founded must be 
wrong." By two o'clock in the afternoon it was lound, however, that the 
enemy's columns, having taken a wide circuit of seventeen miles, were in 
a position where they were likely to complete the overthrow of the Con- 
tinental Army, and a sharp and complicated battle ensued. In the heat 
of the engagement on the right, Knyphausen crossed the Brandywine in 
one body and attacked the American left. It was near nightfall when 
Washington withdrew, and darkness ended the contest. His ofticers had 
displayed great personal courage. Lafayette was wounded, but kept the 
held till the of the battle. Washington announced his defeat to 
Congress without casting blame upon any one ; he stated his loss at about 
one thousand. The British lost nearly six hundred. Howe had made a 
vigorous attempt to crush the whole army between his two divisions, in 
which he signally failed. 

Washington conducted his army to Germantown, then recrossed the 
Schuylkill and, watching the fords and roads, disputed the pi'ogress of the 
British at every step. Howe advanced compactly and with caution, 
never sending detached parties beyond supporting distance. There were 
severe skirmishes at various points. Congress took alarm and moved to 
Lancaster, thence after one day's session to Yorktown, in Pennsylvania. 
Washington was too weak to risk another battle. Howe managed to 
cross one of the lower fords and throw himself between Washington and 
Philadelphia. The rest was easy. On the morning of the 26th 

Sept. 26. ' •' ° 

the British army marched into the city with music and banners 
and gay huzzas. Thus fell the capital, so long the seat of Congress. But 
the blow was light compared to what it would have been ten months 
before, when the British were at Trenton. " It will take so large a force 
to maintain it, that they will wish they had spared themselves the 
trouble," said Schuyler. When the news was announced to Franklin at 
Paris, he exclaimed, " No, no, it is not General Howe that has taken 
Philadelphia, it is Philadelphia that has taken General Howe ! " 

While yet the crack of the riHe was echoing along the banks of the 
Delaware, seven days before Howe's triumphal entry into the Quaker City, 
Burgoyne had begun his great contest with the American army at Sara- 
toga.i He found himself, on crossing the Hudson upon a bridge of boats 
September 13th, in the presence of a foe hidden in the same dense forest 

' This contest, or series of contests, is called variously the battle of Saratoga, Stillwater, 
and Bemis Heights. I have adopted the simple and hetter-known name of Saratoga, that 
the reader may have no confusion of ideas respecting the locality. 


where he struek his own tents, whuse (.Iruni-lieat he could liear, Init 
whose numbers ami position he tliil not know. Gates had moved north 
on the 12th to a hill in Saratoga, where Ibrtitications had been cnn- 
structed under Kosciusko, the I'amous I'olish nobleman, then only twenty- 
one, and from a watch-tower in the top of a high tree was kept informed 
of every movement of the British. Burgoyne's had been a slow-toiliu" 
army through the wilderness, undoing the tangles day by day w-hich 
Schuyler had prepared for them, and a cloud of red savages had preceded 
and hung on their trail, driving farmers and their I'amilies, faint ami sick 
with terror, flying before their glistening tomahawks. The most shocking 
atrocities were of daily occurrence. ^Irs. Schuyler (Catharine Van liens- 
selearj was returning from a visit in Alljany to her sinnmer home in 
Saratoga, and when within two miles of the mansion met a crowd of 
fugitives who told her that Burgoyne had crossed the Hud.son, and also 
recounted the thrilling story of the muiilcr of Jenny AlacCrea, which 
had occurred near that %'ery spot, and warned her of the danger of pro- 
ceeding farther. She was alone in her carriage, and her only e.scort 
was a servant on horseback. " I nnist go for my daughters," she said ; 
" besides, the general's wife ought never to know fear." And .she drove 
on. She remained in her beautiful home only long enough to take a few 
valuables, as the servants informed her that Indians were already lurking 
in the shrubbery that adorned the grounds, and with her family escajied 
to Albany. Burgoyne's scarlet host boldly advanced two miles on the 
19th, with all the glittering pomp and circumstance of war, accompanied 
bv the wives and children nf officers, as if the expedition were a 

' Sept. 19. 

vast ])leasure-party — calashes for the ladies, horses, cannon, bag- 
gage, and stores in endless array ; suddenly they were confronted liy a 
bulwark of breastworks, artillery, and an eager foe. The Hudson was 
behind them, communication w'ith Canada gone, and they had no alterna- 
tive but to fight. At one o'clock the action commenced, Burgoyne leading 
the central division, General Riedesel the riglit. near the river, and Gen- 
eral Frazer the left, making a circuit to assail the American right upon 
the heights ; three hours later the combat was general and desperate : at 
five o'clock Burgoyne's army was in mortal peril ; at sunset Riedesel with 
one regiment and two cannon struggled through a thicket and n\> a hill, 
and made a vigorous charge which stayed the fatal blow i with dark- 
ness the battle ended. The British bivouacked on the field, and huddleil 
their dead into the ground promiscuously. They had lost five hundred. 
The Americans retired within their lines for the night. Their loss was 
less than four hundred. The glory of the day was due to the several 
regiments fighting with most obstinate courage in unisun against regi- 


ments. There was no maureuvriiig. Just praise was awarded to Morgan 
with his famous Virginia ritiemeu, and to Scanimel of Xew England. 
But no men did more efficient service on tliis memorable occasion tlian 
the sons of New York, led hy Colonel Philip Van Cortlandt and other 
gallant officers, who, in disputing the pathway to their own broad acres, 
were contending for a continent. They resented the removal of Schulyer 
from the chief command, and declared that an able general might have 
utterly routed Burgoyne. And Arnold came up afterwards and urged an 
attack upon the enemy while they were disconnected and without intrench- 
ments. Gates refused, waiting for more troops, and a quarrel en.sued. 

The next day Burgoyne received a message from Sir Heni-y Clinton in 
ciplier, informing him that he should commence attacking the strong 
places along the Huilson September 22, on his route to Albany ; and 
Burgoyne, cateliing at the phantom of hope, replied that he could main- 
tain his position until October 12. This communication was placed in a 
hollow silver bullet, which the beai'er was ordered to deliver into Clinton's 
own hands ; he crept along the wooded country by night, concealing him- 
self by day, until he reached Fort Montgomery, where, in response to his 
inquiries for General Clinton, he was conducted into the presence of 
Governor George Clinton ! Seeing his mistake, he swallowed the bullet. 
An emetic was promptly administered, the dispatch discovered, and its 
bearer hanged as a spy. But Burgoyne, knowing the extraordinary diffi- 
culties of communication, had taken the precaution to send several mes- 
sengers by diflerent routes, one of which readied his destination after a 
succession of perils and hardships. 

Days passed away wearily to the inactive Britons, encamped so near 
the Americans that every joyful gun or shout was distinctly heard, but 
the tidings of Sir Henry Clinton's nearness for co-operation never came. 
Their camp was harassed on every side. The alarm was constant. Offi- 
cers and men slept in their clothes. Horses grew thin and weak. The 
rations of the soldiers were clipped. Eight hundred sick and wounded 
were in the hospital. Finally Burgoyne saw that he had provisions for 
but a few days' longer, and on the evening of October 5 summoned his 
generals to a final council relative to the policy of attacking the Ameri- 

Had they known what had occurred the day Ijefore at Germantown, 
they would have been less despondent. AVashington, passing sud- 
denly from the defensive and retreating to the audacious, had 
swoo))ed down upon Howe's encampment in this pretty sul)urb of Phila- 
delphia. It was then a small village of one street two miles long. 
Washington had planned a simultaneous attack upon the wings, front, and 

BArriE OF (iEiiMAyruws. IM 

rear, to he swiftly ami vigorously made, from which the troops iiiiii;ht 
expeditiously retreat if uusuceessful. He marched frdiu his jiost on the 
Skipi)ack road twenty miles from I'hiladeliiiiia in the evening ot the od, 
and the attack was made at dawn. It startled all the British legions in 
the vicinity ; Howe sprang from iiis lied and rode to the scene just in 
time to see one of his battalions running away. Cornwallis, in I'hila- 
delphia, was wakened by the cannon, and his grenadiers ran the whole 
distance, although not reaching the ground until the action terminated. 
Washington dashed into the thickest of the tight. He thought for a time 
that N'ictoiy was in his grasp, tlreene was three quarters of an himr 
too late to perform his part of the programme, and then conducted his 
men carelessly, by which tlie divisimis became mixed and cau.sed serious 
confusion. Washington, at half past eight, gave the order to retreat, 
sending it to every division, and care was taken to remove every piece of 
artillery. He luul Inst in killeil, wounded, and missing aliout one thou- 
sand. Amou'4 the otticers killed was the accomplished General Xash. 
The enemy, according to Howe's report, lost five hundred in killerl and 
wounded, (ieneral Agnew and Colonel Bird were Iioth killed. This 
attack of Washington so .soon after the defeat at Brandy wine was a jiar- 
tial success, inasmuch as it convinced the world that defeat was not cim- 
quest. The British fleet soon attacked the L)elawai-e forts, and se\'eral 
severe engagements occurred. At Bedbauk the Hessians were repidsed, 
and tlieir commander, Count Donop, taken prisoner, mortally wounded, 
dying in the fort tenderly cared for by Duplessis de Maudit, a French 
otiicer oi' engineers who had joined the Americans. 

While Burgoyne was making his preparations for the fatal battle of 
October 7, Sir Henry ( 'linton, four thousand strong, disembarked 

■ ^ , Oct. 6. 

at St(.iny Point on the Hudson. He had first landed at Yerplanck's 
Point to deceive Putnam at Peekskill, who quickly rallied a force to op- 
pose his advance up the eastern bank of the river. Having thus diverted 
attention, Clinton crossed quietly in a iVig, and from Stony Point, on the 
west bank, marched over I »underberg Mountain, a distance of tAvelve miles, 
to attack forts ^lontgomery and Clinton, which were not defensible in the 
rear, they having been simply con.structed to guard the river. Governor 
Clinton, with the first intimation that the British were on the move, had 
prorogued the new legislature, sitting at Kingston, and hurried to the 
points of danger, oidering militia to his aid, the regular tniops having 
been drawn off to Saratoga and elsewhere in the great emergency, leaving 
the garrisons feeble. His brother, General James Clinton, commanded 
one of the fortresses and himself the other. They were surprised simul- 
taneously liy the descent of the British from the mountain in two 


coluuins, iind a desperate battle ensued. The New-Yorkers went out to 
meet the llritish and Tories in the open field, and after protracted resist- 
ance gave way only at tlie point of the bayonet, spilling their cannon be- 
fore retiring. The Jjritish then vigorously attacked botli forts on all sides, 
whicii were defended with spirit. At five o'clock in the afternoon a 
summons to surrender a.s prisoners-of-vvar was rejected by the Americans 
with .scorn. The attack was renewed, and the works finally forced at 
nightfall by overpowering numbers. The Americans fought their way 
(lut, and many of them escaped. Governor Clinton leaped a jjrecipice in 
the darkness and reached the water's edge, where he found his brother 
James about to enter a skiff, wiiicli would liold but one man with safety, 
and who insisted upon the governor's taking it instead of himself. The 
governor indignantly refused unless his brother could go also, which was 
impo.ssiljle ; and to end tlie dispute James fairly pushed the governor into 
the skiff and slioved it off, sjiringing upon a loose horse near by and dasli- 
ing through a squatl of ISritish troops, by whom he was wounded in the 
thigh with a bayonet, but reached ne.xt day his home in Orange County. 
The British loss was about one liundred and forty. Of the Americans, 
three hundred were killed and captured, nearly all of whom were New- 
Yorkers ; and, as at Oriskany, their blood was not spilled for naught. 
Sir Henry Clinton received a check which delayed the execution of his 
plans, and thereby prevented his aiding the Northern British army, not- 
withstanding that, after clearing away the chain stretched across the Hud- 
son at Anthony's Nose, he sailed into Newburgh Bay, sending a mes.sage 
gayly to Burgoyne, " Here we are ' Nothing between )is and Albany." 
The me.ssage, however, was intercepted. 

The next morning broke in mocking splendor The woods about 
Saratoga were clad in their gayest foliage. The air was soft and 
balmy. Burgoyne had determined to hazard a battle, and was 
astir early. At ten o'clock his divisions were in readiness. Seconded 
by Eiedesel, Philips, and Frazer, and with fifteen hundred picked 
troops, the best in his army, he advanced in three columns, sending 
skirmishers ahead, and, forming in line about three fourths of a mile from 
the American works, sat down in double ranks, courting battle. Ten 
guns were well posted. The grenadiers under Major Ackland were in 
the forest on the left ; Frazer commanded the light infantry to the right, 
and sent foragers to cut wheat in a field with which to feed their starving 
horses, while some Canadians, loyalists, and Indians should attempt to 
get in the American rear, in order to discover the best place for forcing 
a way through towards Albany. The indications were quickly known in 
the American camp on Bemis Heights, which formed the segment of 


a circle, the convex towards the enemy, and drums Ijeat tlie alarm. 
Swiftly, as a rocket shoots into the sky and suddenly divides into mani- 
fold parts, a column bristling with tiery determination issued from the 
works into the open field, commanded by the invincible Morgan, and 
slightly curving in its swift approach opened to the right and the left in 
one fierce assault upon Frazer's forces, shouting and blazing with deadly 
aim , at the same instant General Enoch Poor, with his New Hampshire 
men, and General Abraham Ten Broeck,^ with three thousand New- 
Vorkers, faced, unmoved, the cannon and grape-shot with which they 
were greeted, as, emerging from the woods, they fell furiously upon the 
British left. The dash and the courage of the Americans amazed ami 
appalled the haughty Britons ; they seemed to multiply into count- 
less numbers, pouring a deadly fire upon each Hank, then closed, and, 
grappling hand to hand, the mad mass swayed tu and fro for half an 
hour, more than once, five times taking and retaking a siugk- gun. The 
right wing of the British staggered and recoiled under the lilow of Vir- 
ginia, as Colonel Henry Dearborn, with a body of New- Eiiglanders, 
descended impetuously from superior ground, and with flaming muskets 
broke the English line, which wildly fled ; they rallied and reformed, 
when the whole American force dashed against their center held by the 
Germans ; Frazer, the inspiring genius of the day, hurried ti) form a sec- 
ond line in the rear to cover a retreat, but received his dfath-wound. 
With his fall tiie British heart was stunned. The Americans saw their 
advantage, and pressed forward jubilant with certain victory. Burgoyne's 
first aid. Sir Francis Clarke, sent tu the rescue of the artillery, was mor- 
tally wounded before he could deliver his message ; thus eight British 
guns were captured. The grenadiers retreated, leaving Major Ackland 
bleeduig ujion the field. 

It was but fifty minutes since the action liegan. The British, dis- 
mayed and bewildered, had scarcely regained their works, when Benedict 
Arnold, stinging under the smart of the refusal of Gates to give him a 
command, put spurs to his horse, outriding Major John Armstrong, who 
was sent to recall him, and without authority, save that of his own mad 
w\\\, whirled from end to end of the American line, voeil'erating orders 

1 General Alii-iham Ten F.roeek iiiarvieil Elizaljeth, ilaugliter of General Steiihen Van Rens- 
selaer, the fourth Patrooii in the direct line from Kiliaen (see Vol. I. 61, 62), and his wife 
Catharine, the aeeoniplislied daughter of I'hiliii Livingston, signer of tlie Declaration of Indi-- 
iKudencc. General Ten Broeek was the son of Dirrk Ten Broeek, many years recorder, and 
also mayor of Albany He was horn in 17^U ; he was a niendier of tlie New York Assembly 
from 1761 to 1775, also of the Revohitii>nary congress, and of th" convention which organized 
the State govei'nmeiit ; lie was afterwards state senator, mayor of Albany from 1779 to 1783, 
ami tilled other positions of trust. 


which were obeyed as if by a charm, hurled the whole force against the 
strongest part of the British redoubt, continuing the assault for a full 
hour without success ; then 'Hinging himself to the extreme right, swept 
the Massachusetts brigade with him and streaming over the breastworks 
overpowered the Germans, killed Breymann, their colonel, and held the 
point which commanded the entire British position, the next instant 
falling badly wounded as his horse was killed beneath Jiim. Ordering 
Matthew Clarkson at the most critical moment to bring up some regi- 
ments under Learned, the youtiiful aid had asked, " Where sliall I find 
you, sir ? " " Where you hear tlie hottest firing," was the quick response. 
Burgoyne exposed himself fearlessly ; a musket-ball passed through his 
hat, and another tore his waistcoat. Night at last drew its curtain over 
the scene and the combatants rested. 

In a little house on the river-bank the Baroness Eiedesel and Lady 
Harriet Acklaud spent the day in agonizing fear. A dinner awaited the 
four accomplished generals who went out in the morning expecting to 
return to the banquet at four. As the hour approached, the gallant and 
beloved Frazer was borne in dying instead. The table was removed and 
a bed improvised, in its place. The baroness put her three young chil- 
dren to bed that they might not disturb the sufferer ; wounded men were 
constantly being brought in ; they were laid in the entries and in all 
availal>le parts of the house. Lady Acklaud was in extreme distress con- 
cerning the fate of her husband, wlio was within the American lines. At 
ten o'clock in the evening Burgoyne ordered a retreat, but he had only 
transferred his camp to the heights above the hospital at daylight next 
morning. All day the two armies exchanged a sharp fire without any 
positive action. General Lincoln was severely wounded while riding by 
the side of Gates reconnoitering the British position. That evening, in a 
cold autumn rain, Frazer, who had been the life and soul of the invad- 
■ ing army, was solemnly buried ; immediately after which touching service 
Burgoyne stole away in the stormy darkness, leaving his sick and 
wounded to the mercy of the Americans. His few days' provisions were 
confided to boats on the Hudson, but the difficulty of guarding them 
was very great. His guns were dragged along the muddy roads. To- 
wards daylight the no longer boastful Britons halted for rest. It rained 
all day on the 9th ; in the evening the main portion of the drenclied army 
forded Fish Creek, waist-deep, and bivouacked on the opposite bank in the 
open air. Burgoyne remained upon the south side with a strong guard, 
and passed the night in the mansion of General Schuyler. The next day 
he burned it, with all its valuable barns, mills and outbuildings — an 
elegant villa property. Tlie ladies of the Britisli officers suffered every 


discomfort during this humiliating retreat. Lady Harriet Acl<land, in tlje 
midst of the driving storm of the 9th, obtained pernussion to visit tlie 
American camp and aslc to be allowed to share her husband's imjirison- 
ment and alleviate his sufferings. She set nut at dusk in an open lioat, 
accompanied by her waiting-maid, her husband's valet, and a chaplain, 
and was kindly received by Gates. 

Burgoyne found himself unable to retreat to Lake George. Tiie 
Americans had blocked the way. He encamped on an elevated plateau 
northeast of the village of Schuylerville ; and the army of Gates was pres- 
ently encamped all around him. He was subjected to a fire on flank and 
rear and front. His outposts were perpetually engaged. The snldiers 
dared not lay down their arms night or day. The wliole camp became a 
scene of cou.stant fighting. There was no safety for baggage, and no safe 
shelter for the wounded even while the surgeon was binding up tlieir 
wounds. Xo water could be obtained, although close to Fish Creek and 
the Hudson River, for the trees were filled M-ith JNIorgan's sharp-shooters. 
Provisions were nearly exhausted, wounded otticers crawled into the 
cellars of houses ; eleven cannon-balls crashed through one house wliere 
Baroness liiedesel was ministering to sufferers in the cellar. Piifle-balls 
were every moment perforating the tents, and on the I3tli a eannon-liall 
swept across the table 'Where Burgoyne and his generals were seated. (_)n 
the 14tli a cessation of hostilities until terms of capitulation could be 
arranged was proposed by Burgoyne. His aid, Colonel Kingston, was 
received at the crossing of the creek by James Wilkinson, the young 
adjutant-general of the American army, and conducted blindfolded into 
the presence of Gates. An unconditional surrender was at first de- 
manded; but on the 16th Gates consented to more generous terms. 
In the niglit intelligence of the reduction of the Hudson River forts and 
Clinton's northerly advance reached Burgoyne, and he wavered for a 
moment, hoping to avoid surrender. . But it was too late. He could 
not honorably recall liis word. At nine o'clock on the morning of the 17th 
he attached his signature -to tlie convention.^ Two hours later 

.... Oct. 17. 

his troops marched out of their lines and de])osited their arms on 
the river-bank, the brave veterans so overcome with sorrow and shame that 
many sobbeil like children as they grasped for the last time weapons tliey 
had borne with honor, some ki.ssing their guns with the tenderness of 
lovers, others .stamping upon them with oaths of rage. The scene was be- 

' Burgoyne had i-arnestly desired tliat tlie treaty slioiild be called a cnnreiilioii, and not a 
capitulation. This matter of taste was conceded, inasnuirh as it diil not alter the facts or 
deprive the American arms of one leaf of the laurels they hail won. Fur treaty in lull, see 
Appendix A. 


held by no American eyes except those of the two young aids of Gates, 
Morgan Le«'is ^ and Wilkinson. The delicacy of the airangenient reflected 
the greatest credit upon the Americans. A few moments later, Burgoyne 
and his suite rode to the headquarters of Gates. The two commanders 
exchanged the compliments of soldiers. Burgoyne glittered in scarlet 
and gold a large, well-formed, handsome man with courtly manners ; 
Gates, smaller of stature and without the airs of fine breeding or preten- 
sion, was clad in a plain blue overcoat — and Schuyler stood by him in 
citizen's dress. " The fortune of war has made me your prisoner," said 
Burgoyne, with hat in hand, as he took the extended hand of Gates. '' I 
shall always be ready to testify that it has not been through any fault of 
your Excellency," was the graceful reply. The generals entered the tent 
of Gates and dined together on boards laid across barrels. During the 
same liour tiie Royal troops were served with bread by the Americans, as 
they were destitute, even without flour to make" it ; they had not more 
than one day's provision of any kind remaining. The generals cour- 
teously conversed ; Burgoyne spoke very flatteringly of the Americans, 
praised their discipline and their dress, and particularly their numbers. 
" Youi' fund of men is inexhaustible ; like the Hydra's head, when cut off 
seven more spring up in its stead," he remarked. At the close of the 
repast Burgoyne toasted Washington and Gates toasted the King of Eng- 
land. Then, as tlie captured army af)proached on their march to Boston, 
the two commanders stepped out in front of the tent, and standing together 
conspicuously in full view of both armies — the conquerors and the con- 
quered — Burgoyne drew his sword, bowed, and presented it to Gates, 
Gates, bowing, received the sword, and returned it to Burgoyne. 

No simple ceremony in the world's history was ever more significant. 
No martial event from the battle of Marathon to that of Waterloo — two 
thousand years — exerted a greater influence upon human affairs than the 
conquest of Burgoyne. Of the fifteen battles decisive of lasting results, 
during more than twenty centuries of human progress, the conflict of 
Saratoga is one. Up to that liour the Americans were esteemed " rebels " 
by the powers of the earth. Henceforward they were patriots attempting 
to rescue their country from wrong and outrage. The agents of Congress 
were no longer obliged to hold intercourse with the monarchs of Exirope 
in stealthy ways. They met with open congratulations. A new power 

1 Morgau Lewis was bom in 1754, licnce was twenty-three years of age at this epoch ; 
James Wilkinson was twenty. Morgan Lewis was tlie son of Francis Lewis, signer of the 
Declaration of Independence ; he had been a student of law in the office of John Jay. In 
June, 1775, he joined the army in f.'ambridge, and was made captain of a rifle company. 
His subsequent career will lie noted in future pages. 


was recognized. A uew element had entered into the diphjniacy of 
nations. This victory determined the Frencli alliance, and the French 
alliance -was instrumental in securing the final triumph. 

The figure of Philip Schuyler rises grandly above all others in this 
connection. To his judicious and distinguished efforts, his ingenious 
contrivances and unceasing vigilance, was due the glory. And yet he 
uttered no complaint at seeing his laurels worn by another ; he even 
congratulated Gates (who had displayed no professiunal .■^kill whatevei',) 
in the true spirit of chivalrous courtesy and dev(]tion to the common 
cause, and ministered to the personal comfort of the i'allen foe. Eiedesel 
sent for his wife and children as soon as the Pioyal army had passed by. 
They came in a calash, and a gentleman of dignified bearing, devoid of 
military insignia, lifted the children from it, kissing them and caressing 
them, and gallantly assisted the baroness to alight, (iffering her his arm and 
conducting her to the tent of Gates, where the generals were assembled; 
presently he suggested that his own tent was more quiet, and invited the 
lady to accept its hospitalities. " I then learned," writes the Iwrouess, 
"that he was the American General Schuyler." Burgoyne sjjoke feelingly 
to Schuyler concerning the destruction of his Saratoga property. " Don't 
speak of it ; it was the fate of war," was the magnanimous reply. And 
when Burgoyne moved on his journey to Boston, Schuyler sent an aide-de- 
camp to conduct him to his own home, — "an elegant house,"^ said Bur- 
goyne, "where, to my great surprise, I was presented to Mrs. Schuyler and 
her family; and where I remained during my whole stay at Albany, with 
a table of more than twenty courses for me and my friends, and e\'ery 
other possible demonstration of hospitality." 

On the same day that Burgoyne at Saratoga assented to the terms of 
surrender. Sir Henry Clinton, having caused the destruction of every 
American vessel on the Hudson as far as the nuiuth of Esopus Creek, 
added to the general distress and terror by sending General Vaughan 
to strike a tleath-blow to Kingston, the temporary capital of New York. 
In size, wealth, and importance it was the third town in the State. Its 
population numbered between three and four thousand. Some forty-eight 
stone dwellings, of which several were large and elegant, with three or 
more hundred houses of wood, and two good-sized hotels, stood within an 
area of about twenty-five acres ; together with a court-house built of blue 
limestone, and a Dutch Church with an extensive burial inclosure. It 
numbered among its inhabitants numerous families of distinction ; as, for 
instance, the Van Gaas becks, the Tappans, tlie Bruyus, the Elmendorfs, 

' Sketch of Sehuyli-r Mansion, pa.;,'t> 146 (Vol. 11.) ; Speech uf Bvrgoyne in the House of 
Cominons, on Mr. Vviu-r's motion, May 2ij, 17SS. 


the Bogarduses, the Hasbroucks, the Hardenburghs, the Van Burens, the 
Kierstedts, the Van Steenburghs, the Du Boises, the Van Deusens, the 
Banckers, and the Vandeiiyns. John Vandeiiyu, the painter, was then an 
infant. A boys' boarding-school flourished under Dominie Doll, in which 
the afterwards distinguished Edward Livingston (youngest brother of the 
Chancellor), then thirteen years of age, was a pupil. It was this institu- 
tion to which he referred twenty years later, when he said, " I learned 
some lessons besides those found in the good teacher's curriculum. At 
my first dinner, potatoes and a piece of pork composed the whole bill of 
fare. The knife and fork were put in the solitary dish, and the school- 
boy invited to partake. 'I don't like pork, we never eat it at home,' was 
my reply. ' Very well, my little man,' said my host, ' nobody obliges you 
to eat.' Consequently a potato was my repast. The second day brought 
no variety. On the third, fastidiousness succumbed to hunger, and I 
endured the pork and potato diet without variation through the term." 
Kingston was the refuge of numerous New York families of wealth and 
position, who with their liveried negro slaves and stylish equipages had 
retired from the city before the British entered and took possession of 
their costly homes. Philip Livingston, the signer of the Declaration of 
Independence, lived in a spacious house near the Hudson, which was also 
the present home of his daughter Sarah, and her husband. Rev. Dr. John 
Henry Livingston. The Kev. Dr. John Eodgers, of the Brick Church, 
New York City, residing near them, was aroused in the middle of the 
night of the 15th by an unlettered German whom he scarcely knew, and 
warned to immediately remove the household goods which he had stored 
in a small building on the river-bank ; he did so, and with the Livingstons 
escaped to Sharon, Connecticut. James Beekman, whose fine mansion on 
the East Eiver was proving so delightful to the British officers, had rented 
a farm near Kingston, and with his clever and accomplished wife (Jane 
Keteltas) was devoting himself to the education of his children. Some of 
the new state officials were attended by their families. Mrs. John Jay 
had recently joined her husband. The stately ceremonials, together with 
the showy costume of the period — wigs, ruffles, velvet coats, white silk 
stockings, and shoe-buckles of the gentlemen, and the court hoop, bro- 
caded silks, and mountains of powdered hair, flowers, and feathers of the 
ladies — and the host of colored retainers, gave to the scene the effect 
of a little feudal court. The approach of the enemy was known in time 
for the flight of the people, some of whom were able to remove a portion 
of their personal propert)'. Vaughan landed at Eondout, burning e^■ery 
habitation on the two-mile route to Kingston by two roads, where within 
the next three hours he accomplished the total destruction of the defense- 


less town, burning every house and barn and building but one, including 
twelve thousand barrels of flour and a large quantity of other stores; then 
hastily retreated, fearing speedy vengeance. He presently crossed the 
Hudson, marched in various directions, burned the dwellings of all well- 
known "WTiigs, and committed wanton outrages which provoked universal 
condemnation, even among those who were attached to the king's cause. 
Two British officers, a wounded captain and his surgeon, were being hos- 
pitably entertained by ilrs. Judge Robert E. Livingston, the mother of the 
Chancellor and of Edward Livingston, at her beautiful home at Clermont, 
as the red smoking column, bearing the torch aloft, neared her dwelling, 
and they gratefully proposed to extend the protection of their presence 
and influence to save her property, which she politely declined ; burying 
a i^art of her furniture, the remainder was packed upon wagons ; and 
with her large family and retinue of servants she set forth on a weary 
journey to Salisbury, Connecticut ; at the moment of starting, the figure 
of a favorite servant, a fat old negro woman, perched in solemn anxiety 
on the top of one of the loads, caused a burst of hearty merriment, ilrs. 
Livingston did not leave one moment too soon, as the smoke and flames 
rising from her mansion told her ere she was two miles away. The news 
from Saratoga suddenly checked these useless atrocities, and Sir Henry 
Clinton called in his troops and fell back to New York. 

Gates sent Wilkinson to bear the victorious tidings of Burgoyne's sur- 
render to Congress ; while on the route he stopped at the quarters of 
Lord Stirling, in Eeading, where in a free conversation he rejjeated part 
of a letter which Gates had received from Conway, a boastful, intriguing 
officer, who had joined the army at Morristown under an appoint- 
ment from Congress. The letter contained strictures on the manage- 
ment of the army under Washington, with many disparaging comments. 
Stirling, promptted by friendship, communicated the matter to Washing- 
ton, and a correspondence followed between Washington, Gates, and 
Conway, the incidents springing from which revealed an underhanded 
conspiracy that had been for some time in progress to secure the removal 
of the commander-in-chief. The success of the Northern army emboldened 
Gates, and Congress for a time was seriously influenced in favor of the 
aspirants. But public sentiment expressed itself in a manner so emphatic 
that the scheme was subsequentl}' abandoned. As the winter approached 
Howe took observations of Washington's encamj^ment at Whitemarsh, 
but after, as Jones quaintly remarks, " viewing the front of the Ameri- 
can right, marching to the center and taking another view, from thence 
to the left and stealing a peep there," he decided that the works were 
invulnerable, and that he had better leave them in repose ; and with some 


skirmishing, in which a few were killed on both sides, marched back to 
the warm December hres and suug c^uarters of Philadelphia. Washing- 
ton soon after this removed his weary and destitute army to Valley Forge ; 
such was the want of shoes and stockings among his men, that it is said 
they might have been tracked over the hard frozen ground the whole dis- 
tance from Whitemarsh by the blood of their feet. Governor Livingston 
appealed elo(.|uently to the ladies of New Jersey to contribute from their 
superfluous woolen haljits to the scanty clothing of the suffering soldiers ; 
and every nerve was strained to prevent an absolute famine in camp. 
Witliin twenty miles of each other the two hostile armies thus lay quietly 
until spring. 

Putnam went into winter-quarters in the Highlands. While he was 
striving with his accustomed energy to provide needful shelter and food 
for his forces, Burgoyne's army was destroying every latent sjiark 'of sym- 
pathy with Great Britain, which had in Massachusetts survived the 
shock of horrors that distinguished this bloody year, through their con- 
duct along the route to and in Boston, from whence they were to embark 
for England. The houseless inhabitants of Kingston were at the same 
time shi\'ering in meagre hovels in country places ; some few had found 
accomnKjdations in Hurley, four miles from the ruins of the little capital, 
where the new state government lighted in its flight, and whei'e the 
board hig-school of Dominie Doll continued to prosper. In all directions 
within the vicinity of New Y(jrk the British forays had left ashes, desola- 
tion, and anguish along their track. It seemed as if everything useful to 
man was plundered or consumed. Meigs, with a detachment of Parsons's 
brigade, descended upon a band of freebooters in West Chester, capturing 
fifty, with the cattle and horses they had stolen. But it remained for Tryon 
to crown the cruelties of the year, by sending an expedition, under Eni- 
merick, with blazing torches, through Tarrytown and neighborhood, which 
executed its mission with a degree of barbarity seldom equaled in 
civilized warfare. Among other outrages, Peter and Cornelius Van 
Tassel, noted Whigs, were dragged from their dwellings which were set 
on fire, and led to the British lines with halters about their necks, naked 
and liarefoot, althouiih the niiiht was intensely cold ; and women 

Nov. 18. ° '^ , 1 1 T. 

and children were mercilessly abused and e.xposed. Parsons 
wrote a letter of expostulation to Tryon, in which he said that if disposed 
to retaliate he could easily burn the Philipse or the De Lancey mansion, 
but had refrained from doing so because of the wanton and unjustifiable 
inhumanity of such acts. Tryon promptly replied that with more au- 
thority he " would burn every committee man's house within his reach." 
The result followed swiftly. A party of Americans landed i'rom a whale- 



boat at Blooiningdale within a week, surprised aud captured a small 
guard at the landing, proceeded to the beautiful country-seat of Oliver De 
Lancey, and destroyed it, with everything it contained. The terrified 
ladies made their escape as best they could ; Mrs. De Lancey concealed 
herself in a stone dog-kenuel under the stoop until the party had re- 
crossed the Hudson; Miss Charlotte De Lancey (afterwards Lady Dun- 
das), with her brother's child in her arms, Miss Floyd, a guest of the 
family (afterwards the wife of John Peter De Lancey and mother of 
Bishop De Lancey), and Mrs. John Harris Cruger, De Lancey's oldest 
daughter, Hed into the woods and bushes in the darkness, remaining in 
the open air all night. 

The last important event of 1777 was the selection of a new site for a 
fort to replace Forts Montgomery and Clinton ; Governor George Clinton 
with Lieutenant-Governor Van Cortlandt, John Jay, and one or two mem- 
bers of the New York Legislature, made observations along the Hudson, 
and afterwards in council with Washington, determined upon West 
Point. Early in January, with the snow two feet deep, devoid of tents or 
suitable tools, Parsons's brigade, under Putnam's direction, threw up the 
first embankment. From that hour until to-day no foreign power has 
ever been able to pass up and down the Hudson Piiver without doing 
homatre to the American flag. 

The Waddell Chairs. 

(See paj-e 157 ) 



1778, 1779. 


Parliament. — The French Alliance. — Camp at Valley Forge. — Baron Steuben. 

— Gardiner's Island. —General Howe superseded by Sir Henry Clinton. — The 
Battle of the Kegs. — Evacuation of Philadelphia by the British. — Battle of 
Monmouth. — General Lee. -Arrival of the French Fleet. — Destruction of 
Wyoming. —New York City under the British. — The Prisons.— Citizens. 

— Colonel Luddington. — Forays in all Directions from New York City. — 
Dr. John Cochrane. — Winter-Quarters. —Washington in Philadelphia. —The 
Verplanck Mansion. — Condition of the City of New York. — New Haven at- 
tacked. — Burning of Fairfield. — Burning of Norwalk. — Storming of Stony 
Point. — Paulus Hook. — Sullivan's Expedition against the Indians. — The 
Southern Army. — Newport. — Washington at Morbistown. 

THE news of the disaster to the British arms at Saratoga fell like a 
thunder-stroke upon the Court of England. Lord Petersliam was 
the bearer of Burgoyne's dispatch, penned in the Schuyler Mansion at 
Albany. The public admired the grace and dignity with which he told 
his melancholy tale. " The style is charming," said a minister in the 
Eoyal presence. " He had better have beaten the rebels and misspelt 
every word in the recital," said the king. 

The fourth session of Parliament, from November, 1777, to June, 1778, 
was a continued scene of controversy. The Opposition was growing 
every day more powerful. The employment of savages to fight the 
Americans was the well-spring of a blaze of eloquence seldom equaled 
in the history of the English language. Its condemnation brought Lord 
Chatham to his feet in one of the most brilliant speeches of his life. 
Lord North threw out hints in debate that he might make 'some 
proposition of accommodation, and the straw was seized by those who 
were eager to end the contest. Lord Chatham motioned that the door of 
reconciliation be opened by a treaty, before France, who was helping the 
Americans in an underhanded way, should take a bolder stand; but 


the motion was lost. Fraukliu, from Paris, wrote to David Hartley (in 
Octoberj, that some act of generosity and kindness towards the American 
prisoners might soften resentment and facilitate negotiations. And the 
philanthropic Hartley, acting upon the hint, started a charitable sub- 
scriptii.iu tor that end to which large sums were added freely. In Decem- 
ber, the situation being well known to Hartley, he addressed Parliament, 
urging the immediate opening of a treaty with the Americans while they 
were discontented with the cool and dilatory proceedings of the Court of 
France. " Do it before you sleep," he said. " But they slept and did it 
not," he wrote to the mayor and corporation of Kingston upon Hull, a 
few months afterward. No steps of importance were taken until the 
latter part of February. 

By that time France had thrown off her veil, and all Europe was ring- 
ing with the news of England's disappointment. When Lord North rose 
in the House of Commons to introduce his Conciliation Bills, admitting 
that he and his party had been all in the wrong with regard to America, 
the astonishment of the crowd of members and peers present, says Wal- 
pole, was totally indescribable. A dull oppressive silence for some time 
succeeded his speech. " Not a single mark of approbation was heard 
from any man or description of men within the walls of Parliament." 
Charles Fox hually rose and ironically complimented Lord North on his 
happy conversion, and congratulated the Opposition on having obtained 
so powerful an ally, then with cutting emphasis inquired if a commer- 
cial treaty with France had not been signed by the American agents in 
Paris within ten days ? Lord Nortii was thunderstruck, and remained 
silent. AVhen forced up by the clamor, he owned that he had heard 
such a rumor, but had received no official -intelligence to that efl'ect. 

In Paris, during the greater part of January, Franklin, portly and 
seventy-two, had been weighing and chiseling the forty-four articles com- 
prised within the two treaties — one of amity and commerce, the other 
offensive and defensive — which had been prepared for consideration. 
Arthur Lee was in a tumult of impatience, and wished Franklin " would 
make more haste." Temple Franklin said that his " grandfather's dining 
out every day prevented any Ijusiness from being done." Whereupon Lee 
jotted in his journal that it " was an unpromising state of things when 
boys made such obser\-ations on the conduct of their grandfathers." As 
every phrase of the two treaties must be critically scanned and agi'eed upon 
by four men of differing opinions, then translated accurately into English, 
it was serious as well as protracted labor. In the midst of it letters from 
home told Franklin that his daughter, with an infant four months old, had 
retired from Philadelphia twenty miles into the country, canyiug his library 
VOL. ir. 13 


and papers witli her, and that Andri' and other British officers were dom- 
iciled in liis house, playing with his electrical apparatus, his musical glasses, 
his harps and harpsichords. Ralph Izard of South Carolina, who had 
been sent by Congress to the Court of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, 
resided in Paris, and was every day in counsel with Franklin and his 
associates. The wife of Ealph Izard was Alice De Lancey, daughter of 
Peter De Lancey, and sister of Mrs. John Watts of New York, of the 
powerful family at that moment arrayed upon the side of Great Britain. 
On the evening of February 6 the treaties, having been perfected and 
approved, were duly signed and sealed by M. Gerard for France, and by 
Frauklin, Arthur Lee, and Silas Deane for America. 

On the loth of March the French Minister in London, Marquis de 
Noailles, placed in the hands of the English Secretary of State a note an- 
nouncing the significant event, couched in terms almost of derision. The 
very next day Lord North offered his resignation to George III., and 
advised that Lord Chatha^ii be appointed Prime Minister in his stead. 
The king vehemently refused to consent; but when advised again and again 
that Chatham was the only minister who might reconcile all parties, and 
that if Lord North retired no other administration on the same basis 
could be formed, and, also, that in the estimation of Lord Barrington, 
Secretary of War, the nation had not one general equal to the emergency 
should Great Britain or Ireland be invaded by the armies of Europe, he 
found that his aversion must yield to the overwhelming tide of cir- 

On the 20th the treaties were publicly acknowledged by France, 
and the American envoys presented to the king. Franklin was 

March 20. . v a o 

dresseil in a suit of black velvet, with snowy ruffles at wrist and 
bosom, white silk stockings, and silver buckles. Nothing more elegant 
was ever worn by a man of seventy-two in any age or country. Yet it 
was only the prevailing costilme of an American gentleman of that date 
at dinners and fetes at home. It is said that he iiad ordered a wig, but 
when the peruke-maker came with it and tried it upon the head it was 
destined to disfigure, it would not fit. The man manipulated until Frank- 
lin ventured to hint that perhaps the wig was too small. " no, Mon- 
sieur, impossible," he replied. Then after a few more vain efforts he 
exclaimed, throwing it down angrily, " No, Monsieur ; it is not the wig 
that is too small, it is your head that is too large." Franklin finally 
relinquished the idea of obeying arbitrary edicts of any character, and 
went to court without a court dress ; and all Europe applauded. After 
tl>e ceremony of presentation to the king, the envoys drove to the mag- 
nificent residence of Vergennes to partake of a dinner given in their 


honor, the miests comprising some nt' tlie most distinguisheil nt' tiie Frencli 
nubility. In tiie evening they were preseiiteil to Marie Aiitionette, wlio 
was chariniugly enthusiastic over the new rehitionship. 

The next day Lord Stormout left I'uris tor London. He found Lurd 
Xoith pressing his conciliatory measures in the hojje of averting war 
with France, but determined to resign. The ministerial party were ia 
liad humor, said they had been deceived and betrayed, and talked loudly 
abciut the disgraceful capitulation with the Americans. The Opposition 
doubted the acceiitauce of the proposals ofiered, and without opposing 
made their support as disagreeable as possible ; they said that the Minis- 
try, having failed in their secret designs, and being bafHed and beaten, 
were trying to excuse their unexampled barbarity and devastation by 
pretences that were unreal. Both partie.s, however, in reality acquiesced. 

Meanwhile Sir (_luy Carleton had resented the course pursued when 
Burgoyne was given the command of the Northern Army, and had 
written to Lord Germain with so much asperity that his remo\'al from 
the government of Canada followed. General Howe liad been offended 
by the criticisms of his superiors and the lack of attention to his call for 
men and means, and rec^uested permission to relinquish his command 
in America, which was promptly granted. Sir Henry Clinton being 
appointed in his stead. And Lord Howe had taken umbrage at what he 
esteemed a slight from his sovereign, and retired from the service. In 
choosing commi.ssioners to the American Congress, innumerable objections 
to the gentlemen proposed were advanced. Lord Carlisle was then only 
known to the public as a nuiii of fashion and pleasure. Against his aji- 
pointment nmch was said both in and out of Parliament. The Duke of 
Eichmond stated, in the course of an animated debate, that one of the 
governors in America made olijection to the Congress because some of 
them sat in council with woolen caps on. " How inadet|uate must such 
an embassy be (referring to the fashionable lord) to men in woolen night- 
caps I "he cried. Indeed, the Duke of Richmond was bent on making 
peace upon any terms which would secure the good-will of the Americans 
and retain them as allies. Lord Chatham entered the Hfaise of Lords 
April 7, walking with feeble steps, and leaning with one arm on his son 
William, with the other on Lord JNIahon. With the sad scene of that 
day the world is familiar. The noble statesman yielded up his life while 
in the very act of performing a service for America. Had he survived 
even a few days longer he would probably have been called to the helm 
of public affairs and invited to solve the problem which he had himself 

Hardly less doubtful and divided as to the proper course to be pursued 


were another body of men, assembled in a little Pennsylvania town. 
The distressing condition of the army at Valley Forge, the growing 
depreciation of the paper-money, the ruinous loss of trade, and the 
augmented burdens of the war were variously discussed. A large party 
in Congress had become bitterly opposed to Washington through the 
industrious agencies at work to undermine his power. The dominant 
influence of Gates, and the feuds and factious and intrigues of jealous 
rivals, darkly clouded the whole winter sky of American interests. As 
Congress always sat with closed doors, the public knew no more of what 
passed than it was deemed e.xpedient to disclose. But Washington was 
alive to the situation, and insisted upon the aid and counsel of a com- 
mittee of five from Congress in forming a new system for the army. 
Hence Eeed, Folsom, Dana, Charles Carroll, and Gouverneur Morris were 
sent to Valley Forge in January, and remained nearly three months in 
camp. " The mighty Senate of America is not what you have known it ; 
the State of Pennsylvania is sick even unto death," wrote Morris to Jay. 
In reply. Jay remarked : " Your enemies talk much of your Tory con- 
nections in Philadelphia. Take care. Do not expose yourself to calumny." 
As a portion of the family of Morris were loyalists, his mother's residence 
within the British lines during the whole war, and numerous relatives on 
intimate terms with the enemy, much anxiety was engendered on his 

Mrs. Washington arrived at Valley Forge in February, and resided at 
head(|uarters until spring. A log-cal^in was built for a dining-room, and 
numerous comforts were added to the rude establishment of her husband 
in consequence of her presence. Lady Stirling and Jier daughter Kitty, 
Mrs. Knox, and several other ladies also joined the little party, and two 
of the daughters of Governor William Livingston spent a few weeks in 
camp by invitation of their aunt, Lady Stirling. 

Baron Steuben, the great Prussian disciijlinarian, arrived at head- 
quarters on one of the last days of February. He was forty-eight years 
of age, of exceptional dignity and princely bearing, was richly dressed on 
all occasions, wearing a medal of gold and diamonds designating the 
order of " Fidelity " suspended at his breast, and from having been an 
officer of Frederick the Great, Grand Marshal of the Court of the Prince 
Hohenzollern-Hechingen, and the intimate associate of potentates and 
noblemen, he possessed a fascination for the half-frozen, discontented, and 
almost I'evolting army, that turned for a time the whole current of thought. 
Washington, advised of his approach from the seat of Congress at York, 
rode out with his staff to meet him on the road. Steuben was accom- 
panied by an imposing suite of aids, one of whom was Major L'Enfaut, 


afterwards famous for planninn- the city of Washington. Every eye was 
fixed witli curious interest upon the brilliant cavalcade that swept throut;li 
the miserable village of huts where the half-clad soldiers were congre- 
gated. And a stately dinner-party assembled that evening, which, with 
the pre.seuce of the Indies, and the sparkle of the jewels of tlie new-comers, 
was in strange contrast with the roughness of the log-cabin where the 
table was spread. Steulien had left Europe in the autumn, at the sug- 
gestion of Count St. Germain, who desired for America the services of a 
thorougldy experienced military scholar. Washington asked the baron to 
organize an inspectorship, and erelong the whole army was under drill, 
and a select military school in practical operation. Officers were trained 
as well as the men. The baron took upon himself the humblest duty of 
a drill-sergeant. He marched with the men, musket in hand, to show the 
manual exercise he desired to introduce. He rose at daybreak, sipped his 
coffee and smoked his pipe while a servant dressed his hair, and by sun- 
rise was in the saddle, equipped at all points, and rode to the parade 
alone if his suite were not ready to attend him. He adapted his tactics 
to the nature of tlie army and country, and Washington found him a 
most intelligent and ci)nsumniate officer. His greatest difficulty was his 
ignorance of the English laneuaiie. When the men blundered in their 
exercises, he l)lundered in liis explanations ; his French and German were 
of no avail ; then he usually lost his temper and swore in all three 
languages at once. But his generous impuLses and liis personal magnet- 
ism soon made him a favorite with the men. His discipline extended to 
their comforts ; he examined the doctor's reports, visited tlie sick, saw that 
they were well lodged and attended, and inquired into their treatment by 
the officers, not infrequently sharing his last dollar with those who were 
in want and suffering. 

During the spring months Long Island was in great tribulation. That 
portion of the inhabitants who consigned themselves to British protec- 
tion in 1776, wei'e under a delusion that the troops raised among them- 
selves, commanded by Oliver De Lancey, John Harris Cruger, Gabriel 
Ludlow, and other loyalists, were for their own specific defense. They 
learned to tlieir sorrow the value of foreign guan.liaus, who were con- 
stantly connuitting depredations ; an instance where Dr. Tredwell, a 
Long Island gentleman of fortune and position, and a well-known loyalist, 
riding one of his own valuable horses through a wood, was stopped by a party 
of British dragoons, and ordered to dismount and carry his saddle home ou 
his back while tliey took his horse, was but one of the multitude of similar 
outrages. But tlie loyalists' liattalions were now ordered elsewhere, the 
forts where they had been stationed were demolished, and to all com- 


plaints tlie answer caine from ISritish Leailnuarters, " Raise militia and 
defend yourselves." The energetic patriots speedily couimunicated this 
condition of affairs to the forces in Connecticut, and whale-boats were at 
once fitted out, manned by from twenty to twenty-four men each, for 
purposes of retaliation, capturing Tories, and destroying the resources 
of the British in New York, keeping Long Island in perpetual alarm 
and commotion from one end to the other. These whale-boats, after 
crossing the Sound, were frequently dragged across the narrow point of 
the island, known as " the canoe place," and launched into the South Bay, . 
where they effectually broke up a lucrative trade in which at least one 
hundred and fifty small vessels were engaged in supplying the New York 
markets, through bartering merchandise with the country peopile for 
hogs, lambs, calves, poultry, Ijutter, cheese, shell-fisli, and other produce ; 
the patriots ventured even to IJockaway (within fifteen miles of New 
York City), and captured or destroyed every lx:iat in their way, sending 
those of value round Montauk Point to New London. The coasters on 
all sides of the island shared the same fate. In vain the loyalists begged 
for cutters to stop the mischief; General Howe had nothing to do with 
it, and Lord Howe chose to keep his cutters taking prizes at sea, along 
the coasts of the Delaware and Chesapeake, to one eighth of the proceeds 
of which he was personally entitled ; therefore the reply came again and 
again, " You have a militia, defend your own trade." The eastern 
extremity of Long Island was as a rule devoted to the American cause. 
Neither threats nor bribes had induced its inhabitants to resign the prin- 
ciples to which they had plighted their faith. Abandoned to the mercy 
of the foe, they had borne insults and robberies with patience. The 
British posts at Sagg Harbor and Southampton overawed them, but in 
no wise weakened their patriotism or integrity. Their carts and teams 
were impressed, oxen killed, and hay and grain seized, whenever the 
wants of the enemy demanded. Payment was sometimes made, but 
never in full, nor was any consideration shown by the inferior officers 
when the farmers protested against parting with the necessaries wanted 
for their own families. The beautiful manor of Gardiner's Island, the 
first founded of all the manors of New York, was stripped every year of 
its produce, and some of its finest timber cut and carried away by the 
British. One of its trustees. Colonel Abraham Gardiner, was arrested at 
his home in Easthampton and threatened with all the penalties of martial 
law for refusing, when ordered by Tryon, to call out the militia to defend 
the coasts from the whale-boats of Connecticut. His unflinching decision 
in the matter finally convinced the British officers of the folly of forcible 
measures, and they liberated him ; nor did they make much effort after- 



wards to sultduu the spirit cjI' the ])eople of that reiiiou, whose bitter hatred 
they had so thoroughly invoked. The son of Gardiner was even then au 
ofiicer in Washington's army, although the fact was not known to the 
invaders. The upon Gardiner's Island, built in 1774, was a 
favorite resort for the British iitKcers when on hunting or holiday exjiedi- 
tiuns, the marks left where they pitched quoits in the dining-room on 
rainy days being still in existence. 

In the mean time Sir Henry Clinton proceeded to Philadelphia, and 
assumed the chief connuand i.if the British army. General Howe prejiared 
to sail for England. The winter had been without incident of a military 
character, save the skirmishes which attended every foraging party 

who ventured 
miles from the 
The inventor, 
nell, contrived 
of machines 
were set adrift 
ware River, the 
to work mis- 
vessels anchor- 
delphia ; and 
little conster- 
boys went out 
to pick up the 
was seen, and 
it into their 
with a great 
ing the unfor- 
An alarm was 
spread through 

Gardiner's Island Manor-House, and View of Gardiner's Bay. 

[Built in 1774 bv David Gardiner, sixth Lord oT the Manor of Gardiner's 
Island. See Vol. 1. 696 J 

a half-dozen 
Quaker City. 
David Busli- 
alaige number 
in kegs, which 
on the Dela- 
design being 
chief upon the 
ing at I'hila- 
they created no 
nation. Two 
in a small boat 
first keg that 
whih.' rolling 
craft it burst 
tiiuate lioys. 
thecitv. Other 

kegs came in sight, and the wharves and shipping were manned ; some 
of the ships of war poured whole broadsides into the Delaware, " as if," 
says a liumorous writer of tlie day, " the kegs were filled with armed 
reliels, wlio were to i.ssue forth in the dead of night as the Grecians did 
of old from their Mooden horse at the siege of Troy, and take the city 
by surprise." The affair furnished food for an endless amount of clever 
sarcasm and healtiiful laughter, and lieeame the subject of Francis Hoji- 
kinson's famous satirical liallad, " The Battle of the Kegs." 

Copies of Lord North's plans for conciliation were sent on a swift sailing 
vessel to America, inmrediately upon the news reaciiing England th;it the 
treaty had actually been concluded at Paris. The ]\Iinistry thought thus 


to forestall effects. Congress unanimously resolved, upon receiving these 
drafts about the middle of April, that no conference could be held with 
any comniissiouers from Great Britain, or treaties considered, until that 
power had withdrawn its armies and fleets, and acknowledged the in- 
dependence of the United States. On the 2d of May a mes- 
*^ senger arrived from France with the two treaties, which on the 
4th were ratified by Congress, and at once published throughout the 
country. The 6th was observed as a day of public rejoicing at 
^ ' Valley Forge. The terms of the treaties were read by the chap- 
lains to the several brigades, solemn prayers were offered, and eloquent 
discourses delivered. Then followed a grand review, a national discharge 
of thirteen guns, and a banquet ; the tables were arranged in a sort of am- 
phitheater where all the ofticers of the army could be seated. JMrs. Wash- 
ington graced the occasion with her presence, also Lady Stirling and her 
dauohter, Mrs. Knox, Mrs. Greene, and several other ladies. The French 
"entlemen of rank who had joined the army were especially gratified 
with the demonstrations of delight with whicli the tidings were welcomed 
that henceforward the flags of the two countries would go together into 
the battle-fields of America. 

The noise of jubilant cannon had scarcely died away at Valley 
Forge, when Philadelpliia was astir with revelry. Howe had 
^ ' been absorbed with amusements and dissipation while discreditably 
besieged all winter by the army he affected to despise — less than half as 
large as his own. His gay young ofiicers had also been killing time with 
private theatricals and all manner of loose diversions. Now they thought 
to compliment their indulgent commander by giving a magnificent enter- 
tainment prior to his departure for England, which should also be a grace- 
ful return to the ladies of Philadelphia for their civilities and courtesies 
during the season. Major Andre was one of the most efficient of the 
twenty-two chivalrous young Britons who projected the fete, to which 
was ffiven the Italian name Mischianza — medlev — and with Oliver De 
Lancey, Jr., of New York, painted the chief of the decorations. It was a 
tournament on a grand scale, a brilliant mingling of regatta, naval, and 
military procession, knightly evolutions and feats of arms, fireworks, and 
a ball. This brilliant farewell was doubly dear to General Howe, from 
the fact that he felt wronged by the Ministry. But it called more atten- 
tion to his inefficiency than any other event of the war. Why had he 
given his officers leisure for such performances ! With twenty-four thou- 
sand of the best troops in the world, why had he not attacked the little 
shivering, half-fed army by whom lie was imprisoned ! And what sort 
of a general must he be to peaceably allow the saucy New Jersey Legis- 


lature, with Governor Livingston at its head, to hold its sessions in 
Trenton, only thirty miles away ' The festival was universally pro- 
nounced a ridiculous and untimely farce. The next afternoon it was 
discovered that Lafayette, with twenty-five hundred men, had taken post 
on Barren Hill — about half-way from Valley Foi-ge — as if to watch the 
movements in and about Philadelphia. At ten in the evening Howe 
sent Grant with above five tliousand troops by a circuitous route, to gain 
the rear of Lafayette ; going out early the following morning him- 

ATo^ 20 

self, attended by Clinton and Knyphausen, with nearly six thou- 
sand men, to meet the Americans after their expected rout. But there 
were no routed Americans to meet. Lafayette, discovering the danger, 
threw out small parties into the woods to show themselves as the heads 
of attacking columns, thus bringing Grant to a halt to prepare for action, 
while he crossed witii liis main force the ford of the Schuylkill. Way- 
worn and crestfallen, Howe returned to Philadelphia. On the 

' May 24. 

24th he resigned the command to Clinton, and embarked for 

A few days later, orders from the Ministry, prepared in consecpience of 
the impending war with France, reached Clinton to e-vacuate the hard- 
won city of Philadelphia, and concentrate his forces at Xew York. While 
militarj' quarters were in the stir and bustle of preparation, and heavy 
cannon and lia}' and hoi'ses were being shipped, the commissioners under 
the Conciliatory Bills, empowered to negotiate for the restoration of 
peace, landed, after a voyage of six weeks. Their secretary was- Adam 
Ferguson, the celebrated Scotch philosopher and historian. They were 
surprised and indignant to find their plan of operations so completely dis- 
concerted liy the lords of England. They said they should never have 
undertaken the mission had they known of the orders for evacuation. 
Lord Carlisle wrote, " Three thousand of the miserable inhabitants have 
embarked on lioard our ships, not daring to remain in the city, as they 
can expect no mercy from those wjio come after us." 

There was not the shadow of an opening for tlie messengers of peace. 
Even their pri\-ate letters were angrily resented. Lafayette, because of 
some reflections on the conduct of France in the public letter of the com- 
missioners to the President of Congress, challenged Lord Carlisle to meet 
him in single combat. The streets of Philadelphia were cumbered with 
heaps of furniture, and auctions were taking place daih' on the sidewalks. 
The people were in the utmost consternation. " A more affecting spectacle 
of woe I never beheld," said Governor Johnstone. Becoming convinced 
that the commission could do no good as long as independence was 
tacitly acknowledged by the retreat from Philadelphia, the connnissioners 
re-embarked, and with the retiring fleet sailed down the Delaware. 


Meanwhile Cliutou and his army crossed the river and commenced a 
slow, tiresome journey through New Jersey by land. The wagons laden 
with stores and provisions were so numerous that they alone formed a 
line twelve miles long. The bridges were all gone, wells filled up, and 
every conceivable obstruction thrown in the way of their progress. The 
weather was excessively hot for June. Small bodies of Americans har- 
assed the column perpetually in the rear. Washington placed Arnold 
in command of Philadelphia, and followed the British. The traitorous 
Lee had been exchanged, and reinstated in the army, and when Washing- 
ton sunnnoned a council of war to discuss the policy of an attack upon 
Clinton, he not only opposed the measure with spirit, but infiuenced 
the maj(jrity of the officers to do the same. Washington, however, was 
determined to execute his purpose, and intrusted a fit command for the 
oldest major-general to Lafayette, who marched towards the enemy with 
the utmost alacrity. The following day Lee was ordered forward with 
two brigades, to command the whole advance party. Just after midday 
on the 27th, Washington summoned his officers to headquarters and 
directed them to engage the enemy on the next morning, and ordered 
Lee to concert with his officers the mode of attack. But when Lafayette, 
Wayne, and Maxwell came to Lee at the hour named, lie refused 
' to form any plan. The next morning he m&ved languidly, and 
his conduct was such that the suspicious of Lafayette were aroused, 
who sent a message to Washington that his presence was needed on the 
field. Twice were similar messages sent by John Laurens, son of the 
statesman. The officers were constantly receiving orders and counter- 
orders from Lee ; Wayne was on the point of engaging the enemy in 
earnest, when Lee enjoined him only to make a feint. There was march- 
ing and counter-marching, crossing and recrossing a bridge, and a halt for 
an hour. Thus Clinton was given ample time for preparation ; finally he 
sent out a division to attack the Americans, who retreated. Washington 
was coming up with the main liudy to support the advance as he had 
promised, when he encountered the fugitives. He a.sked an officer the 
meaning of it all, who smiled significantly, saying he had retreated by 
order ; another officer exclaimed with an oath that they were fiying from 
a shadow. A suspicion flashed across Washington's mind of the treachery 
of Lee, and he galloped furiously forward, exclaiming in a \'oice of anger as 
he met the latter, "What is the meaning of all this, sir? " Lee stammered, 
at first confused, and then in an insolent tone said, " You know the attack 
was contrary to my advice and opinion." Washington sharply replied, 
" You should not have undertaken the command unless you intended to 
carrv it through." But there was no time for words. The British were 


coming down the narrow road, and would be upon them in fifteen minutes. 
Washington swiftly formed his retreating regiments into a barricade, and 
l)lauted other troops upon higher ground. Lee was ordered to the rear, 
and while sitting idly upon his horse, explaining to by-standers that the 
attack was madness and could not possibly be successful, Washing- 
ton effectually checked the advance of the enemy, and after a pitched 
battle drove them back to the ground which Lee had occupied at first. 
At night two brigades hung on the British right, a third on their left ; 
while the rest of Washington's forces planted their standards on the field 
of battle, and lay on their arms to renew the contest at daybreak. Wash- 
ington himself, wrapped in his cloak, reclined at the foot of a tree. When 
the morning dawned the British had departed. Clinton had not e\"eu 
given his weary troops opportunity for a nap, but at ten o'clock in the 
evening had marched after the division with the liaggage-train, abandon- 
ing the severely wounded and leaving his dead unburied. The loss of the 
British was more than four hundred ; and during their march through 
New Jersey above eight hundred deserted their standard. The American 
loss in the battle, which took its name from the adjacent village of Mon- 
mouth, was in killed and wounded two hundred and twenty-nine. 

A court-martial found Lee guilty of disobedience, niisljehavior before 
the enemy, and disrespect to the commander-in-chief, and suspended him 
from command for twelve months. Congress confirmed the sentence, and 
in ITSl), provoked by an impertinent letter, dismissed him from tlie 
service. His chief consolation in his disgrace was the most virulent 
railing against Washington. 

When Clinton reached Xew York, his army went into quarters upon 
Manhattan, Staten, and Long Islands. Washington encamped his forces 
at Xew Brunswick, Elizabeth, Newark, Hackensack, and White Plains. 
Aaron Burr and other energetic young officers were sent on reconnoiter- 
ing expeditions to Bergen, Hoboken, and various points of observation, to 
obtain information concerning the intentions of the enemy. The French 
fleet commanded by Count D'Estaing anchored at the mouth of the Dela- 
ware on the 8th of July. A less rough voyage, and it might have inter- 
cepted Lord Howe's squadron. Having dispatched a frigate with the 
illustrious M. Gerard, the French Minister, and Silas Deane, to 
Philadelphia (Congress having returned to that city on the 2d of July) 
the fleet followed Lord Howe to Sandy Hook, and would have entered 
and oflered battle in New York Bay could pilots have been found to take 
its largest ships through the channel. New York City was thrown into 
the most violent commotion. The loyalists had the mortification of 
seeing the British fleet blockaded and insulted in tlieir own liarbor. Tlie 


metropolis was iudeed surrounded by an enemy. Clinton wrote to 
Germain that he should probably be compelled to retire to Halifax. 
Young Laurens was sent to Count D'Estaing as aid and interpreter. A 
i'rank and cordial correspondence with Washington finally induced the 
Count to trim his sails ibr Newport ; and Greene and Lafayette were 
sent to join Sullivan in command of Rhode Island, who was to co-operate 
in an attempt to recapture that stronghold from the British. Lord Howe, 
whose intended successor, Admiral Byron, had not yet arrived, sailed in 
pursuit of the French. The two fleets were on the point of engaging 
when separated, wrecked, and scattered by a violent storm. The enter- 
prise against Rhode Island proved a failure in all respects, and the 
disappointment led to bitter jealousies between the Americans and their 

The ceremonials to be observed at the reception of the first minister 
plenipotentiary to the United States, were a matter of no little study. 
Richard Henry Lee, Samuel Adams, and Gouverneur Morris comprised 
the committee who drafted the form of presentation ; this was discussed 
five days by Congress. It was necessary that the details should be in 
harmony with the peculiar condition of the government, therefore no 
absolute precedent could be followed. 

On the memorable occasion Ricliard Henry Lee and Samuel Adams, 
in a " coach-and-six," waited upon the Minister at his house. Presently 
the Minister and the congressional delegates entered the coach together, 
the Minister's chariot following, with his secretary. The carriages having 
arrived at the State House, the Minister was conducted to his chair in the 
congress chambei', the President and Congress sitting. The Minister 
being seated, he gave his credentials into the hands of his secretary, who 
advanced and delivered them to the President. The secretary of Con- 
gress read and translated them, after which Mr. Lee announced tlie Min- 
ister to the President and Congress who all rose together; the Minister 
bowed to the President and to the Congress, they each bowed, and 
all seated themselves again. In a moment the Minister rose and made a 
speech to Congress, the members sitting ; after which the President and 
the Congress rose, and the President pronounced an answer to the speech, 
the Minister standing ; this being ended, all were once more seated. The 
President, Congress, and the Minister then again rose together, the Min- 
ister bowed to the President, who returned the salute, then to the Con- 
gress, who also bowed in return, and withdrew, attended home in the 
same manner in wliich he had been brouglit to the house. During this 
august scene the door of the congress chamber was thrown open, and 
about two liundred gentlemen of distinction were permitted to witness 


the ceremony, amoug whom were several foreign noblemen. An ele- 
gant dinner given to the Minister by Congress was the final event of 
the day. 

Ere these auspicious occurrences had warmed the heart and quickened 
the pulse of America, Western New York was crimsoned with blood. 
Niagara was a Ijvitish post, tlie common rallying-place of Tories and 
savages, of refugees and vagabonds. Brandt had retired hither after St. 
Leger's repulse at Fort Stanwix. And here many a tlark deed of ven- 
geance was planned. In June a party sallied fortli, eleven hundred 
strong, composed of desperadoes and Indians, led by John Butler, formerly 
in some official connection with Sir John Johnson, and one of the valiant 
in the battle of Oriskany, who, after laying waste the country on the route, 
descended upon the fair settlement of Wyoming in the Susquehanna 
VaUey, which consisted of eight townsliips eacli five miles square, mas- 
sacring its inhabitants in the most brutal and fiendish manner. Tlie 
able-bodied male population — one th(iusand or more — were chiefly 
away in the army ; Colonel Zebulon Butler, an officer in the Continental 
army stationed at West Point, was home on a furlougli, and gathering 
the old men and boys, and such of the farmers as he could hastily collect 
in the emergency, commanded the But his force, all told, num- 
bered less than four hundred, and tlie horde of invaders, more than twice 
as numerous, knew the woods well, and had come to destroy and deal 
death, not to recover and hold. In the engagement nine tenths of tlie 
heroic defenders were killed and scalped. The I.ritish leader boastlully 
reported having burned a thousand houses and every mill in the valley. 
He omitted to state that in several instances men, women, and children 
were shut into buildings and all consumed together ; or that monsters 
in human shape, painted like Indians, took the lives of their nearest of 
kin with diabolical fury. A horrified group of survivors fled through 
a pass in the hills to the eastern settlements. Then the bloodthirsty 
marauders left the smoking scene of solitary desolation, and turneil 
towards the region of Rochester to continue their terrible worlc. Early 
in November Walter, the son of John Butler, commanded tlie war-iiarty 
that repeated the terrible drama of Wyoming at Cherry Valley, lliiinaii- 
ity itself was di.sgraced by the wliolesale slaughter, and a thrill of honor 
vibrated from one end of the country to tlie other. 

Washington passed much of the summer at White Plains, althougli he 
visited West Point frequently, and was at the various jiosts in New Jersey 
from time to time. On the 7th of another disastrous fire 

. . Aug. 7. 

raged violently for several hours in New York City, commencing 

in Pearl Street, near Broad ; sixty-three houses and a number of stores 


were cousuined. The following day, iu the midst of a heavy thunder- 
storm, a sloojj at anchor in the East Elver, with two hundred ami forty- 
ei'i-ht barrels of gunpowder on board, was struck by lightning, and the 
explosion unroofed a number of houses, and demolished windows and 
furniture in every direction. Lord Stirling while iu camp at White 
Plains obtained permission for his wife and daughter Kitty to visit his 
eldest daughter, Mrs. Eobert Watts, in New York City, where they spent 
the mouth of August, and were treated with the utmost civility by the 
British otticers. They found Mrs. Watts prostrated from the effects of 
the alarm of the hre and the explosion, and her husband " heartily sick of 
British tyranny." They spoke in their letters of courtesies received from 
Walter Rutherford, whose wife was Lord Stirling's sister ; from Andrew 
Elliot, collector of the port under the Crown ; from Lord Drummond, sou 
of the Earl of Perth, who was in America to look after his father's interests 
as proprietor of East New Jersey ; from Nicholas Bayard, whose country- 
seat was on the eminence above Caual Street ; and from William Smith, 
the historian, afterwards chief justice of Canada. " They were our con- 
stant visitors, and desired to be remembered to you," wrote Lady Stirling 
to her husband. Smith had been an influential opponent of the British 
measures until a recent date, an intimate friend of Stirling, Governor 
Livingston, John Morin Scott, John Jay, and Gouverneur Morris. The 
latter had beeii a student of law in his office. Suddenly he ^\■as appre- 
hended, examined, and confined a state prisoner iu Livingston ]Manor, for 
having sent intelligence to the enemy (it was said) ; and finally, with his 
wife and family, library, household effects, servants, chariot, and horses, 
was banished to New York City. On the same sloop with Smith were 
Major Colden, eldest son of the late Governor Coldeu, and Samuel Bayard, 
former secretary of the province, who for refusing to take the oath of 
allegiance to the new State were ordered beyond the British lines. 

Walter Eutherford lived in the fine substantial house of the sketch, 
which stood on the present site of the Astor House. The adjoining 
dwelling was the home of William Axtell, who j)rior to the war was one 
of the governor's council, aud whose wife was the daughter of Abraham 
De Peyster, the treasurer. He had favored the American cause at the 
start, but when his estate came into the power of the conquerors his sen- 
timents changed, and he became a loyalist of the first magnitude. He 
had an elegant mansion in Flatbush, Long Island, and when commissioned 
as colonel of a regiment of loyalists the men raised, numbering about 
thirty, were encamped in his courtyard, apparently to guard his premises. 
Jones says he had a secretary, an aide-de-camp, a chaplain, a physician, 
and a surgeon iu full pay. And to him was confided the jiower of grant- 



ing licenses to all the public-houses in the county, and passes over tlie 
Brooklyn Ferry, which were the sources of a large revenue. 

New York City, with its piles of ruins and its poisonous prisons, was no 
longer the gay progressive metrojjolis of former j^ears. The late tire had 
been less extensive that that of 1776, but the wealthy loyalists were great 
sufferers. The Cruger family lost 
six houses, Gerardus Duyckink 
seven, William Bayard six houses 
and stores, and Peter Mesier and 
his family not less than fifteen 
buildings. A strange village of 
huts had sprung up on the site 
of the fire of 1776, called " Can- 
vas Town," which was tenanted 
by banditti, and soldiers who ob- 
tained the means of dissipation 

bv plunder, or starving wretches Home of Waiter Rutherford. HomeofWilliamAxtell. 

wjio turned highwaymen in despair ; it was, in short, a hideous plague- 
spot. A sense of insecurity destroyed all comfort. No citizen dared 
walk out after sunset without a guard. Eobberies were of nightly occur- 
rence. The feith pinned to the arms of Great Britain was becoming sadly 
weakened. The flight of Clinton from Philadelphia, chased across the 
Jerseys by Washington, the presence of a French fleet cruising off Sand}^ 
Hook, and the knowledge that the city was beleaguered on every side by 
the American army, were not conducive to happiness. The editors of the 
Tory newspapers exerted themselves to keep up the spirits of the anxious 
by furnishing exaggerated accounts of "rebel misfortune" and misery. 
They said Connecticut was in chaotic confusion all through her borders ; 
that in Maryland only forty recruits responded to the call of Congress ; 
that fevers were raging in Pliiladelphia and the people were longing for 
King George ; that tlie whole South was weary of tlie war, and would 
rise at the first landing of a British army and shake oft' the usurping 
tyranny of Congress ; that the inliabitants were starving and rebellious in 
Boston, and tliat all their food was transported from the South by a land- 
carriage of seventeen hundred miles ; in short, that the chief supplies of 
tlie Eastern States were wholly cut off, trade sunk, gold and silver gone, 
not a piece of coin to be seen anywhere, a cartload of the Continental 
currency not worth a dollar, and the " rebel army such a miserable set 
of ragged creatures as w^as never scraped togetJier before." There were 
some who believed these statements, Imt the majority grimly trembled. 
The loyalists and refugees formed themselves into companies to aid in 


the defense of the city should it be besieged as expected, and commanded 
by Major Uavid Matthews, paraded in the fields, making a fine ap- 

The poverty-stricken were in a perishing condition, and the rich 
loyalists and many of the British officers contributed liberally to their 
needs. Trade had ceased, there was no employment for laborers, and 
provisions and fuel were scarce and extravagantly high. And if such 
was the condition of the inhabitants at large, what must the prisoners 
of war have suffered 1 They were confined by thousands. In the Middle 
Dutch and other churches wounded men would crawl to the windows 
begging aid, and a sentinel, pistol in hand, would turn back the gifts of 
the charitable. In the gloomy old sugar-houses hundreds were chained, 
and those might almost as well have been who were allowed to walk 
about within their narrow confines. The coarsest food was doled out in 
scanty measure, and the men devoured it like hungry wolves, or ceased 
to eat at all. From ten to twenty died daily, and their remains were 
thrown into pits without a single rite of burial. In the old Provost, 
where officers chiefly were incarcerated, so ck)sely were they packed 
that when their bones ached at night from lying on the hard planks, and 
they wished to turn, it was done by the word of command, and the whole 
human mass turned at once. In Wallabout Bay, across the river, the 
hulk of the Jersey, an old si.\ty-four gun-ship, unseaworthy, with masts 
and rigging gone, was a scene of human suffering, which even now at the 
end of a century chills the hand that woulii draw a pen picture however 
inadequate. No warmth in winter, no screen from the scorching summer 
sun, no physician, no clergyman, soothed or consoled the dying in that 
center of contagious disease, which was never cleansed, and constantly 
replenislied with new victims. It is estimated that eleven thousand of 
its dead were buried on the Brooklyn shore. Many a New York citizen 
tried to alleviate the horrors of the prisons and prison-ships, for there 
were several of the latter, but military law prevailed ; no communication 
with prisoners was allowed, and aid conveyed to them by stealth only 
doomed the benefactor to a similar fate. Washington was constantly 
doing all in his power to exchange prisoners ; and when he remonstrated 
with the British officers as to the emaciated and dying condition in which 
his brave men were returned to him, the reply came that they were lodged 
in roomy buildings and fed the same as the British soldiers. 

Many of the citizens who remained in New York during the war, 
taking no active part in the unhappy disputes, had hopeii to pursue their 
avocations undisturbed, or to protect their property interests by their 
presence. The Stuyvesants were of the latter class. Gerardus Stuy vesant 


resided iu the old gubernatorial homestead ; his two sous occupied with. 
their families the comparatively new mansions, known respectively as 
" I'etersfield " and " Tlie Bowery House." ^ Frederick Philipse, third lord 
of Philipse Manor, was living in the city. He had intended in the 
beginning to maintain a strict neutrality ; but having no faith in the suc- 
cess of the American arms, and in constant intercourse with the husbands 
of his two sisters. Colonel Beverly Robinson and Colonel Eoger Morris, 
who had joined the king's forces, he was soon suspected of favoring the 
enemy, and compelled to take the oath of allegiance to Congress or a 
final farewell of his ancestral home ; thus he removed to New York. He 
■was an ardent Churchman, and a courtly gentleman of scholarly tastes. 
He lived in a style of great magnificence. His wife, an imperious woman 
of fashion, was in the habit of appealing upon the roads of Westchester, 
skillfully reining four splendid jet black horses ; she was killed by a fall 
from her carriage just before the Eevolution. Philipse mixed very little 
in public affairs, disliked politics, and opened his purse generously for all 
charitable purposes. 

Andrew Hamersley, for whom Hamersley Street was named, an alder- 
man of the Dock Ward, and a vestryman of Trinity Church, was a rich 
importing merchant who unostentatiously went about doing good while 
the city was in gloom and despondency.^ The Revolution seriously im- 

' See sketches, Vol. I. 217 ; Map of Stuyvesant Bowery, Vol. I. 188. 

2 Andrew Hamersley was born in 1725. His father was William Hamersley, of the same 
baronial family as Sir Hngh Hamersley, born in England in 1687 ; he was an officer in the 
British Navy, who resigned the service in 17t6, and took up his abode in New York ; he 
became a shipping merchant in the Mediterranean trade, and was a vestryman of Trinity 
Church from 1731 to 1752. Of his three sons, Andrew was the only one who mariied ; his 
wife inherited the interests of one of the Lords Proprietors of New Jersey, which ha.s Ijeen 
handed along in the slow j)roeess of division to the Hamersley lamily of the present day. 
Andrew Hamersley had three sons : 1. 'William, who was the first professor of the Institute 
of Medicine at Columbia College, having received his medical degree from Dr. Robert.son, the 
historian, at Edinburgh, and was thirty years connected with the New York hospitals ; he 
married Elizabeth Van Cortlandt De Peyster, and of their two sons, Andrew was a distin- 
guished author, and William was mayor of Hartford. 2. Thomas, a gentleman of great learn- 
ing, who was pronounced by Lorenzo du Ponte the best Italian scholar in America ; he married 
Susan Watkins, daughter of Colonel John W. Watkins and Judith, fifth daughter of Governor 
William Livingston of New Jersey. 3. Louis Carre Hamersley, who married in Virginia ; 
liis sons are A. Gordon Hamersley, who married Sarah, daughter of John JIason, and 
John William Hamersley, who married Catharine Livingston, daughter of Judge James and 
Sarah Helen Hooker of Dutchess County. Mrs. Hooker was the daughter of John Keade, for 
whom Reade Hoeck (Red Hook) was named, who was the son of Joseph Reade, one of the 
governor's council (see Vol. I. 756), for whom Reade Street in New York City was named ; 
Lawrence Reade, the father of Joseph Reade, was born and married in England, removing to 
New York in^ the early part of the eighteenth century ; he was descended from a line of 
wealthy British noblemen of the name, who for centuries were a power in themselves, Sir 
VOL. II. 14 


paired his fortune, but an inherited estate in the West Indies, from a 
maternal uncle, Louis Carre, a Huguenot, subsequently retrieved the dis- 
aster as far as his children were concerned. He was one of those who 
made exceptional exertions to alleviate the anguish of the sick and dying 
prisoners ; and he inspired universal confidence through the strength, 
beauty, and symmetry of his Christian character. His wife was the 
grand-daughter of Thomas Gordon, son of Sir George Gordon. Thomas 
Gordon was one of the twenty-seven original Lords Proprietors of East 
New Jersey; lie came to live in this country in 1684, and was made one 
of the governor's council, and chief justice of the Supreme Court of New 
Jersey. Lord Drummond while in New York was a guest of Andrew 
Hamersley, and pronounced his household one of the loveliest within the 
circle of his knowledge. 

Military rule in New York was far from being agreeable to her citizens. 
They felt aggrieved because the courts of justice were closed, and be- 
lieved that the laws of the land ought to prevail. It was to secure the 
re-establishment of constitutional civil authority that the petition to the 
Howes, in the autumn of 1776, was projected by Chief Justice Horse- 
manden. Judge Ludlow, and others, and signed by nearly one thousand 
men of all degrees and conditions in life, and of all denominations of 
Christians. Lord Howe received the delegation who presented it with 
courtesy, read the petition, and promised to consult his brother, Sir 
William, who was then in New Jersey with the army. But no 
answer was ever vouchsafed to the petitioners.^ It was perceived that ReaJe and Sir Richard Reade being his more immediate ancestors. The mother of 
Mrs. Hooker was Catharine Living.ston, great-granddaughter of the first Lord of Livingston 
Manor, and granddaughter of Colonel Henry Beekraan, "the great patentee" of Dutchess 
County. The only sister of Mrs. Hooker's mother married Commissary-General Hake, and 
their only daughter was the mother of Frederick De Peyster, jiresident of the New York His- 
torical Society. One of the sisters of Mrs. Hooker married Nicholas William Stuyvesant ; 
another sister married Plulip Keaniey. The children of John William Hamersley and Cath- 
arine Livingston Hooker are: 1. Mary, died in infancy; 2. James Hooker; 3. Virginia, 
married Cortlandt De Peyster Field ; 4. Helen ; 5. Catharine L., married John Henry Liv- 
ingston, great-grandson of Chancellor Robert R. Livingston. 

1 Jams' s Hist. N. Y. Vol. 11. 116, 117, 118, 433-453. "No single incident in the 
Revolution," writes De Lancey, " has been more misunderstood, and none more misrejiresented, 
than this attempt of the people of New York to obtain the re-establishment of constitutional 
civil power in place of military rule." The petition was the first step that could be taken in 
that direction. The style and language was only that in common use at the time in pulilic 
documents, and no evidence in itself of " Slavish Submission." Historical wi'iters have 
through the entire century past spoken of the petition as a "complimentary address," etc., 
and called the names of the signers the "Black List." "These misrepresentations, " con- 
tinues De Lancey, " it is believed, in case of later writers especially, have been simply the 
result of mistake and niisa]>prehension of the object and purport of the petition." To the 
document is attached a certificate from William Waddell and James Downes, who superin- 
t<'nded the signing, that the signatures were all affixed voluntarily. 


tlie Howes designed to govern by the law military wherever the conquests 
of the royal army extended, which many of the most intelligent loyalists 
esteemed a violation of right and inconsistent with the manifest design 
of the Ministry. Thus the whole city, incorporated by a royal charter, 
became virtually a garrison town ; and the inhabitants writhed under tlie 
arbitrary courts erected by the proclamation of a military commander. 

During the latter part of September Chief Justice Horsemanden died 
at his residence in Flatbush, lu the eighty-eighth year of his age, and . 
was interred in Trinity Churchyard. At this time numerous New York 
families whose names have become familiar to the reader occupied 
country-seats in the fair, rich town of Hatbush, Iting noted for its 
pleasant homes ; Mayor David Matthews, Augustus Van Cortlandt, Miles 
Slierl)rooke, David Clarkson, j\Irs. Van Home, Jacob Suydam, ilajor 
Moncreifl', and Theophylact Bache were among the householders. Captain 
Alexander Graydon, taken prisoner at the surrender of Fort Washington, 
was billeted upon the Suydams ; and up to tlie loth of June, 1778, saw 
little prospect of an exchange. That night William ^lariner, one of the 
daring spirits of the day, crossed from New Jersey with eleven men, 
landed at New Utrecht, made a dash upon Flatbush, lilierated Graydon, 
and carried off Major Moncreiff and Mr. Bache, reaching Middletown at 
six o'clock the next morning. The prisoners were taken to Morristown, 
and soon after exchanged ; the object of their capture having been to 
obtain the means through wjiieh to procure the release of some American 
officers in the New York prisons. 

Sir Henry Clinton sent out several exasperating expeditions from New 
York in the early autumn, whicli served to widen the chasm between 
England and America, and render the present conciliatory system hope- 
less, whatever might have been its chances under dther circumstances. 
One party crossed into New Jersey anil ravaged tlie country ; discovering 
tliat a body of Virginia cavalry, under Lieutenant-C'olonel liaylor, styled 
" Mrs. Washington's Guards," were .sleeping in bfirns at (_)ld Tajijian, near 
Hackensack, (ieneral Gray, of marauding renown — afterwards Earl Gray 
— stealtliily surrounded them in the night, and with the bayonet slaugh- 
tered them indiscriminately, without regard to their naked and defense- 
less condition or cries for mercy. Three days afterward Tarrytown and 
the country as far as Dobb's Ferry was overrun by one or two hundred 
Hessians, who plundered and destroyed everything within their reach, 
until checked by detachments of Americans under Major Henry Lee and 
Colonel Kichard Butler. Little Egg Harbor, on the eastern coast of New- 
Jersey, was visited about the same time by three hundred liritish troops 
and a band of Tory volunteers, inider Captain Furguson. and lieeame the 


scene of a massacre similar to that of the Virginia cavalry. It was a 
night attack, and fifty of the American infantry were butchered on the 
spot. On the Long Island shore, about Buzzard Bay, at Fairhaven, and 
at Martha's Vineyard American vessels were taken or destroyed, store- 
houses, dwellings, and churches burned, and sheep, oxen, hogs, and horses 
carried to New York. 

Washington's headquarters after leaving White Plains was at Fred- 
ericksburg, now Kent, New York, where he gave special attention to re- 
pairing the roads and bridges through Connecticut to Boston, in order to 
facilitate the marching of troops. He was frequently at the house of 
Colonel Henry Luddington, a large commodious mansion a few miles 
north of Lake Mahopac, in what is now Carmel, Putnam County, then the 
northern border of the " neutral ground." Colonel Luddington was in 
command of the militia of the region, and, through his resolute vigilance, 
performed services of the utmost moment to the country. His troops 
were in constant requisition to quell the turbulent Tory spirit, repress the 
vicious lawlessness of the " Cowboys " and " Skinners," intimidate the 
foraging gangs from New York City, and assist in active operation with 
the Continental army. His independence of character, sterling integrity, 
and military skill inspired confidence upon every hand. He had in nu- 
merous instances completely thwarted Howe's designs, and a large reward 
was offered for his capture, dead or alive. His house was surrounded one 
night by a band of Tories from Qifaker Hill, wliile on their route to joiu 
the British in New York, and but for the presence of mind and spirit 
of his two young daughters, Sibyl and Eebecca, he would undoubtedly 
have been taken. These fair maidens were keeping watch as sentinels, 
with guns in their hands on the piazza. 'They discovered the approach of 
the ^oe in time to cause candles lighted in every room, and the few 
occupants of the house passed and repassed the windows continually. 
The ruse led the assaulting party to believe the house was strongly 
guarded, and, hiding behind the trees and fences, they watched until day- 
break for signs of repose. Ere it was light enough to discover by whom 
they had been held in check, they vented their disappointment in un- 
earthly yells and rapidly fled. 

Washington found Colonel Luddington a ready and efficient counselor, 
and together they planned various methods for learning the intentions of 
the British in New York.^ Enoch Crosby, the original of Cooper's " Harvey 

1 Colonel Henry Luddington was born in 1739, at Branford, Connecticut. He was the 
third son of William Luddington, who was descended from the William Luddington who was 
one of the first .settlers of C'harlestown, Massachusetts. He married his cousin, Abigail Lud- 
dington, and with other members of his family removed to what is now Putnam County, 
New York. He served in the French war with much credit — was at the battle of Lake 


Birch," was ofteu admitted to the house for rest and couceahuent on his 
adventurous travels ; and tlie regiments and tenantry of Colonel Ludding- 
ton furnished other successfid spies who procured intelligence of great 
consequence to Washington. The British army was found to he gradu- 
ally dispersing in different directions. Admiral Byron, the successor of 
Lord Howe, came and refitted the fleet, and sailed for Boston to entrap, 
if i^ossible. Count D'Estaing. An expedition was sent to Georgia, and 
another to the West Indies. Therefore nothing important in the neigh- 
borhood of New York would probably be attempted. 

Sir Henry Clinton had been ordered to cany the war into the Southern 
States. The Continental troops of Georgia and the Carolinas were chiefly 
with tlie main army at tlie North, and it was deemed a propitious 
moment for obtaining possession of their strongholds. The Ministry 
were in no mood to discontinue hostilities. It was told in Parliament 
that the Conciliatory Bills had been treated with contemjjt in America, 
that the British army had received them with inexpressilile indignation, 
and that the rebel army trod them under their feet, or caused them to be 
burned by the common hangman. Fox declared it his deliberate opinion 
that " the dependenc}' of America was no longer a thing to be dreamed 
of." Burke inveighed bitterly against those who had reduced the nation 
to such an acme of humiliation. David Hartley moved an address to the 
king to rejjresent that recent events were such as to call for speedy meas- 
ures to put a stop to the progress of the war ; but it was negati\^ed. 
The next day he moved another address, praying the king not to prorogue 
Parliament for the present. He said : " I am very confident that the day 
will soon come when the house will regret having been so touchy upon 
every proposition that has but the shadow of American independence. 
It is want of jirudence in the extreme to become more and more attached 

George, where lii.s unele and eou.sin were killed by his side. He was one of the foremost in 
esponsing the canse of America at the outbreak of hostilities, and received his fii'st commission 
as colonel from the Provincial Congress, which commissipn was superseded in May, 1778, by 
one from Governor George (Clinton. His duties were multifarious, never-ceasing, and attended 
with great danger. His own house was his heachjuarters throughout the war. He lilled 
many positions of trust, public and private, before and after the war. He served in the 
legislature of the State, was deputy sheriff of the county, for a long time justice of the peace, 
and through the whole of an honored life was one of the most public spirited men in that part 
of the State. He died in 1817. He left six sons and six daughters. His youngest son, Lewi.s, 
removed to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1840, and afterwards founded the city of Columbus, in 
Columbia County, Wisconsin ; he died at Kenosha in 1857, aged seventy -two. Among the 
well-known grandchildren of Colonel Henry Luddington are Ex-Governor Harrison Ludding- 
ton of Wisconsin, Nelson Luddington of Chicago, James Luddington, founder of the cit}' 
of Luddington in Michigan, and Charles H. Luddington, of New York City ; also Major 
Edward E. A. Ogden of the United States army (who died at Fort Riley, Kansas, in 1855), 
son of Sibyl Luddington, who married the Hon. Edward Ogden. 


to impossibilities in propoition as tliey became more evidently such. 
The Americans, you all know, are, in fact, at this moment independent. 
If you regret that independence, you have your ministers alone to thank 
for the event. Your force is now, in all effect, defeated in America. One 
army entire is taken prisoners ; what remains is so far from being ade- 
quate for conquest, that I fear it will find great difficulty even to defend 
itself The Ministry of this country first introduced foreign forces into 
the contest. The Americans have now, in their turn, called in a foreign 
power." After combating for some time with the arguments of those who 
.still insisted upon the possibility of bringing the Americans into their 
former relations, Hartley submitted certain points to the consideration of 
the Ministry as the only grounds upon which a negotiation could at pres- 
ent be based : " That the United States be declared independent of Great 
Britain ; that the two countries agree mutually not to enter into any 
treaty offensive to each other ; that an open and free trade and a mutual 
naturalization be established ; and that commissioners be appointed on 
each part to negotiate a federal alliance between Great Britain and North 
America." His motion was seconded by Sir George Saville, and warmly 
supported by Burgoyne, now in his place in Parliament, who in a power- 
ful speech denounced the false policy and incapacity of Lord Germain. 
One of the stanch adherents of government sprang to his feet and denied 
all the premises upon which Burgoyne had based his remarks ; and con- 
tended that, as a prisoner of war, Burgoyne had no right to speak, much 
less to vote in that house, continuing in a strain of offensive personality 
until called to order. Fox made an eloquent address in support of the 
motion, declaring that " the Ministry were as incapable of making peace 
as of carrying on the war " : the motion was, however, ultimately lost 
upon a division of one hundred and five against fifty-three. The refugees 
from America, embittered by the advice of Congress to the several states 
to confiscate their property, thronged the antechamber of the Minister 
and counseled sanguinary measures to punish and subdue. The king be- 
lieved the colonies would soon beg for pardon. Clinton was not thus 
deluded, and although he reluctantly obeyed the peremptory instructions 
received for the conquest of Georgia, and the service of the West Indies, 
he wrote to the Secretary of State in December, "Do not, my Lord, let 
anything be expected of one circumstanced as I am." 

Washington established for the winter a line of cantonments around 
New York from Long Island Sound in tlie vicinity of Danbury, Connecti- 
cut, where Putnam was in command, to the Delaware, choosing Middle- 
brook, New Jersey, for his own headquarters. By a plan of alarm-signals 
one post would reinforce another in case of an incursion of the enemy 



to auy particular jiciint ; thus cuniparative security was afforded to tlie 
country. General Lincoln was sent Ijy order of Congress to take coni- 
inand of the Southern department. 

Lafayette had been ly- 
ins dansferouslv ill with - ^_ ^^ 

a fever for many weeks 
at the Verplauck Man 
siou inFishkill, and dur- 
ing his convalescence 
in November was pre- 
paring to visit France 
on leave of absence, full 
of a grand project for 
the next summer's cam- 
paign, which he de- 
.signed to lay before the 
cabinet at Versailles. 
He was closely attended 
by Dr. John Cochrane,^ 
of Washington's staff, 
the surgeon-general of 
the hospital of the army, 
whose wile was Ger- 
trude, the only sister of 
General Philip Schuy- 
ler. Lafayette was fond 
of him, appreciated his intelligence and force of character, and often 
called him "The good Doctor Bones," from a song with the somewhat 

Or. John Cochrane. 

[From a miniature in possession oi 1 John Cochrane. J 

' Di-. .lolin Cochrane wa-s born in 1730, received a careful education, and finished his medical 
studies before the breaking out of the French war in 1755. Entering the army as surgeon's 
mate, lie left the service at the close of that war with the character of a skillfnl and e.xperi- 
eneed practitioner. In 1776 he offered his services as a volunteer in the hospital departnn-nt 
of the American army, and being personally known and admired by Washington, was shortly 
appointed physician and surgeon-general in the middle department ; in October, 1781, Con- 
gress appointed him director-general of the hospitals of the United States. When peace was 
restored he removed his family to New York City, residing at 96 Broa<lway ; he continued on 
terms of cordial intimacy with Washington as long as lie lived, and with the general otliceis 
of the army. He had two sons, James Cochrane and Walter L. Cochrane ; and a step-daugh- 
ter, Cornelia, who became the yife of Walter Livingston, the eldest son of Robert, third Lonl 
of Livingston Manor. Walter L. Cochrane was tlie father of General John Cochrane of New 
York City, who was graduated from Hamilton College in 1831, was surveyor of the port of 
New York from 1853 to 1857, memlier of Congress from 1856 to 1862, attorney-general of the 
State, and brigadier-general ot volunteers in the late war. 


singular refrain of " Bones," which he would sometimes sing to enliven 
the tedium of camp life, and which was a never-failing source of amuse- 
ment to both Washington and Lafayette. A familiar letter from Lafay- 
ette to Dr. Cochrane, bearing this endearing sobriquet, is now in pos- 
session of the New York Historical Society. The respite from actual 
fighting gave the officers stationed at West Point and vicinity many idle 
hours, which they improved in social entertainments. Suppers, followed 
by music and dancing, were frequent. General Muhlenburg, the clerical 
Virginia soldier, on one occasion entertained forty guests at a banquet 
served in the historical dining-room of the Beverley Mansion, opposite 
West Point. This house had been turned into a military hospital, and 
Dr. James Thatcher, the author, was quartered there, having been ap- 
pointed surgeon to the first Virginia regiment, connnanded by Colonel 
George Gibson. He often rode to Fishkill, visiting Dr. Cochrane and 
others. On one occasion he paid his respects to Lafayette, and describes 
in his journal the politeness and affability with which he was received, 
remarking also upon the elegant figure of the young nobleman, the " in- 
teresting face of perfect symmetry, and fine, animated, hazel eye." Wash- 
ington was with Lafayette frequently prior to his departure for Boston, 
where he embarked in December for France. 

The dissensions and party feuds in Congress, together with the startling 
financial outlook, distressed Washington. He repaired to Philadelphia, 
where he spent much of the winter in discussing plans for 1779. The 
army were hutted as at Valley Forge, suffering for food, although better 
clad than ever before through importations from France. But officers 
and men were growing impatient with their privations and their pay ; 
while it took one hundred dollars in paper to secure three dollars in 
specie, they necessarily were laden with debts and their families were 
starving at home. And to add to the general embaiTassments of the situa- 
tion, skillful artificers were counterfeiting the American bills in London by 
millions and circulating them in this country. The exchange of prisoners 
was attended with an endless amount of negotiation and perplexity. 
Spain just now was apparently using Great Britain as her instrument for 
bridling the ambition and repressing the growth of the United States ; 
with a true instinct she saw in their coming influence the quickening ex- 
ample which was to break down the barriers of her own colonial system. 
Aud clear-sighted Americans perceived with alarm that Congress had 
lost too many of its strong men, that the body was becoming enfeebled, 
aud that its chief acts were only recommendations and promises ; that 
through the natural course of political development state governments 
were dearer to the inhabitants than tlie general government ; that the 


present Congress actually renounced powers of compulsion, and by clioice 
devolved the chief executive acts upon the separate States ; and that in 
point of fact there was scarcely a symbol of national unity except in 
the liighest offices, while there were thirteen distinct sovereignties and 
thirteen armies. " If the great whole is mismanaged," said Washington, 
in trying to rouse the country to a sense of the public danger, " it will an- 
swer no good purpose to keep the smaller wheels in order." New York 
was the first State to act in tlie emergency, and, much as she needed her 
best men at home, increased her delegation by sending John Jay into the 
national counsels, who was made president of Congress, Laurens having 
retired from that office in December. • 

Upon one great military necessity all were agreed. The Indians of 
Western New York must be severely chastised ; otherwise it was re- 
solved to adhere to a strictly defensive campaign during the coming 
season. The movement against the powerful savage confederacy was to 
be something more than a raid for purposes of retaliation. Nothing less 
than the harshest of treatment and a decided victory, would prevent the 
tomahawk and its attending horrors from traveling eastward with the 
spring sunshine. The Six Nations had exerted great influence through 
more than two centuries of warfare, and had been courted by both Eng- 
land and France, as the reader has learned in former pages of this work. 
They had been treated with all the consideration ever accorded to power- 
ful governments. They had acquired through intercourse with the whites 
many of the comforts of civilized life, with enlarged ideas of the advan- 
tages of private property. Their populous villages contained castles as 
well as cabins ; the grand council-house at their capital was built of 
peeled logs two stories high, with gable ends painted red. Their fertile 
fields and thrifty orchards teemed with corn and fruit. In the beginning 
of the strife they had engaged to be neutral. But they could not resist the 
seduction of British presents ; and the influence of Sir John Johnson, of 
the great chieftain Brandt, and of the Tories and desperadoes who in the 
disguise of Indians besought them to act as guides, with their natural 
thirst for blood and plunder, had rendered them more ferocious than the 
wild beasts of the forest. Their shocking cruelties in the rich Wyoming, 
Mohawk, Schoharie, and Cherry valleys could not be overlooked. An 
extensive plan of operations was devised. Into the heart of the Indian 
country Sullivan was to lead an expedition, marching by the Susque- 
hanna ; General James Clinton, his second in command, was to join him 
after penetrating the Indian country by the Mohawk River ; and a third 
division was to proceed by the Alleghany River. So important was the 
success of these movements esteemed, that Governor George Clinton 


intended to accompany the troops until the last moment, but was pre- 
vented by the State affairs. The New Hampshire and Massachusetts 
regiments were commanded by General Enoch Poor, and the Pennsylva- 
nia brigades by General Hand. This artuy altogether amounted to about 
five thousand men. 

The anniversary of the alliance with France was celebrated in camp 
shortly after Washington returned to headquarters. An elegant dinner 
was given by General Knox and the officers of artillery to the comman- 
der-in-chief, who with Mrs. Washington, the principal officers of the 
army and their ladies, and a number of the prominent personages of 
New Jtersey, formed a brilliant assemblage. In the evening there was a 
curious display of fire-works and a ball opened by Washington with Mrs. 
Knox for his partner. Not long afterward a party of British troops 
crossed into New Jersey at midnight, under orders to capture Governor 
Livingston. His wife and daughters had returned to " Liberty Hall " in 
the autumn, and the governor was now at home ; a farmer's son, on a fleet 
horse without .saddle or bridle, brought tidings of the enemy's approach, 
and he had barely time to make his escape. His valuable correspondence 
with Washington and other documents were crowded by his daughter 
Susan into the box of a sulky and taken to an upper room.^ Then she 
stepped out upon the roof of a little porch over the door to watch for the 
coming of the reilcoats. The day was just dawning when they suddenly 
appeared in full view, and a horseman dashed forward and begged her to 
retire lest some of the soldiers from a distance mistake her for a man and 
fire at her. She attempted in vain to climb in at the window, although 
it had been easy enough to step out; and an officer, seeing her dilemma, 
sprang from his horse, rau into the house, and gallantly lifted her 
through the casement. She was a handsome young woman of magnetic 
presence, and turning to thank her preserver, inquired to whom she was 
indebted for the courtesy. " Lord Cathcart," was the reply. " And will 
you protect a little box which contains my own personal property ? " she 
asked with quick earnestness ; then added more quietly, " if you wish 
I will unlock the library, and you may have all my father's papers." 

A guard was instantly placed over the box, while the house was ran- 
sacked. A large quantity of old law papers were stuffed into the sacks of 
the Hessians, who cut the balusters of the stairs in anger when they found 
themselves checked in the work they had come so far to perform. They 

> Miss Susan Livingston subsequently married John C'leve Symmes, the eminent jurist, 
who was member of Congress, judge of the Supreme Court of New Jersey, chief justice in 
1788, appointed judge of the Northwest Tei'ritory, and was the founder of tlie settlements in 
the Miami country. Their daughter became tlie wife of President William Henry Harrison. 


were gratified, however, in the matter of burning and plundering several 
other houses, and retreated with speed to Staten Island closely pursued 
by Jlaxwell's brigade, with the loss of a few men on both sides. 

The British aim through 1779 was to intlict as much misery as possi- 
ble upon the inhabitants of America. The war was prosecuted in Florida, 
Georgia, and the Carolinas, without any distinct or decisive object, in 
numerous small encounters, and with varying success. Virginia was 
ravaged by a force under General Matthews, her two chief commercial 
cities, Portsmouth and Norfolk, sacked, the town of Suffolk wantonly 
plundered and burned, public and private property indiscriminately de- 
stroyed all along the track of the invaders, who spent twenty-one days 
in the employment, and then returned to New York laden with the 
spoils. On the 30th of May, Sir Henry Clinton commanded an e.xpedi- 
tion which sailed up the Hudson Pdver and captured the two opposite posts, 
Verplanck's Point and Stony Point, which were in no condition to resist 
the army of more than six thousand men. Washington drew his troops 
suddenly from their cantonments and placed them in such positions 
above Stony Point that the British general was discouraged from attempt- 
ing anything further, and leaving strong garrisons in his newly acquired 
fortresses, he retiu'ned to New York. 

Baron Steuben established his headquarters in June at the Verplanck 
Mansion, which, standing amid fine lawns and gardens, a short distance 
from the village of Fishkill, with patches of primeval forest on either 
hand, overlooked the Hudson some half a mile from the water's edge. 
By rapid marches througli Pompton and the Eamapo valley tlie troops 
under St. Clair, Lord Stirling, and Baron De Kalb, were drawn from 
Middlebrook and well posted near West Point. Putnam was 
placed in command at Smith's Clove, while Washington's head- 
quarters were at Newburgh. Numerous regiments were scattered along 
the eastern bank of the Hudson to guard the passes, it being sujDposed 
that the British would soon attempt to carry West Point. Washington 
was frequently at Fishkill, and with the baron reviewed the various 
sections of the army ; the remarkable degree of adroitness to wliich 
both officers and soldiers had attained in their evolutions was gratifying. 
The silence maintained during the performance of their manoeuvres as- 
tonished experienced French generals. " I don't know whence noise 
should proceed, when even my Isrigadiers dare not open their mouths but 
to repeat the orders," exclaimed Steuben in reply to certain admiring 

The Verplanck Mansion was built in the early part of the eighteenth 
century, upon property which has been in the possession of the Ver- 



plancks since 1682, when Gulian Verplanck and Francis Eombouts bought 
seventy-six thousand acres of land of the Indians. Long prior to the 
Revolution wheat had been shipped from this place to France and ex- 
changed for pure wine, with which the vaults of the dwelling were well 
stocked. It was a roomy, comfortable home, and the foreign noblemen who 
enjoyed its shelter were charmed with its abundant resources for substan- 
tial comfort. The house is still preserved, with all its antique peculiarities ; 
the very chairs used during the war are cherished with tender reverence. 
The new and larger part, revealed in the sketch, is at least seventy- 
five years old. The Verplancks are one of the oldest as well as one of 
the most honorable of the New York families of Holland origin ; the 

Verplanck House, Fishkitl. 

first of the name settled on the lower point of Manhattan Island when it 
was only a little fur-station ; and in every generation since that primitive 
period they have had their good and gifted men. Samuel Verplanck 
married Judith Crommelin, the daughter of a wealthy Huguenot in 
Amsterdam, and resided in a large yellow house in Wall Street, corner 
of Broad, which was the home, after the Revolution, of his distinguished 
son. Judge Daniel Crommelin Verplanck, who married Ann Walton. 
These latter were the parents of Gulian Verplanck, so well-known in the 
political, social, and literary life of modern New York, and to all lovers 
of Shakespeare. 

While the flowers were nodding in the June breezes, Sir Henry Clinton 
and his suite were journeying over the roads of Long Island to review the 
troops stationed at Southampton. An escorting party rode in advance, 
helping themselves to everything which could be conveniently turned to 


account on the route, and when the exasperated inhabitants remonstrated 
they were cursed for rebels. July opened with an expedition into Con- 
necticut, the object of which was in part to draw Washington's attention 
from West Point. A fleet of forty-six sail, manned by two thousand 
sailors, bore Tryon with three thousand troops into Long Island Sound. 
It was not moving against any fortified post, but as General Parsons 
aptly wrote, " to execute vengeance upon rebellious women and formidable 
hosts of boys and girls." 

On the morning of July 5 it anchored at the entrance to the harbor 
of New Haven, and its military passengers landed at both East 
and West Haven. It was not yet daylight when the city was 
roused with alarm-guns and the ringing of church-bells. President Stiles 
says in his diary, that he sent off his daughters on foot to Mount Carmel, 
placed the college records and a quantity of colonial papers in charge of 
his youngest son to carry tliree miles, dispatched a one-horse load of bags 
of clothing in one direction, a second load of four mattresses and a trunk, 
immediately following, sent his son Isaac to overtake bis sisters with a 
carriage, and rode himself on horseback to various points, stirring uj) the 
militia ; his eldest son, Ezra, was with a band of college students, wlio 
formed on the green under Captain James Hillhouse, when suddenly 
Colonel Aaron Burr dashed in among them and offered himself as their 
leader. He had risen from a sick-bed to which he had been confined 
some days, and after conducting his aunt, a daughter of President Ed- 
wards, to a place of safety, spurred to the aid of whoever would contest 
the progress of the enemy. Joined by such of the militia as could be 
rallied in haste, the young heroes boldly proceeded to meet and harass 
the invaders, delaying them for priceless hours. The venerable ex-Presi- 
dent Daggett of Yale (who had been professor of divinity twenty-five 
years) mounted his horse and with fowling-piece in hand rode down into 
the face of the enemy, encouraging tlie students by his example as well 
as words ; when the party under Hillhouse fell back he remained where 
he had been stationed in a little copse, and continued loading and dis- 
charging his musket. " What are you doing there, you old fool ? " called 
out an officer in the van of the British column, astonished at seeing a 
single individual in clerical costume firing at a whole regiment. " Exer- 
cising the rights of war," said the professor. In an instant bayonets 
were at his breast; "If I let you go this time will you ever fire at the 
king's troops again ? " was asked. " Nothing more likely," was the 
prompt reply. Blows and gashes followed, but the life so firmly jeopard- 
ized was spared ; the professor gave his name and station as one of the 
officers of Yale College, and was told that he had been " praying against 


the king's cause," which he admitted. He was placed in front of the 
column, and at the point of the bayonet compelled to lead the way to 
a bridge, two miles north of one which had just been demolished over 
West Eiver, and thus to the college green, where he fainted from the 
excessive heat of the day, and loss of blood, and was carried into the 
house of a friend. He died a few months later in consequence of his 
wounds. About one o'clock in the afternoon the enemy reached tlie heart 
of New Haven, having burned several houses on their way (of which was 
the old stqne manor-house of the Morrises), and mercilessly kiUed a num- 
ber of citizens in their own dwellings, among whom was Deacon Nathan 
Beers. Sir Henry Clinton had instructed Tryon to do his business 
quickly, and the troops, nothing loth, sacked New Haven without delay ; 
what could not be carried off was viciously destroyed — windows and 
furniture were broken, beds torn open, and occupants of houses abused and 
insulted. Cellars were everywhere visited and rum drank to excess. At 
eight in the evening the soldiers were so intoxicated as to be withdrawn 
witli difficulty, the greater part who could walk reeling in the line, and 
carts, wagons, and even wheelbarrows necessary to transport the rest to 
the boats. Tryon paused at Beacon Hill, and at midnight wrote to Clin- 
ton, " The rebels are following us with cannon, and heavier than what we 
have." By sunrise the next morning the enemy were on the Sound 
again, having burned all the storehouses on the wharf, seven vessels, and 
many houses and barns. They had killed twenty-one men besides those 
wlio subsequently died of their woumls, and carried away between twenty 
and thirty prisoners. Tryon wrote that he " had a little difficulty with 
the rebels, and had lost eighty in killed and wounded." Among those 
who so resolutely disputed his advance were Dr. Levi Ives, the father of 
Professor Eli Ives of Yale, Mr. Partherford Trowbridge, David Atwater, 
Simon Sperry,i and other men of influence who shouldered their muskets 
and joined the party under Hillhouse. 

On Wednesday, the 7th, Tryon landed at Fairfield and stripped 
every dwelling and burned the whole beautiful town. A com- 
munity so cultivated as well as prosperous had not in that day 
its parallel in England. Three churches, ninety-seven dwelhngs, a hand- 
some court-house and jail, two school-houses, sixty-seven barns, and 
forty-eight stores and shops were reduced to ashes. Green's Farms, five 

1 Simon Sperry was descended from Richard Sperry, who was notable in colonial history 
for supplying food to the regicides, Goffe and Whalley, and who lived in the famous old 
moated manor-house approached by a causeway leading across his estate from the river in 
the beautiful and picturesque town of Woodbridge. Simon Sperry was the grandfather of 
ex-Mayor Sperry, and of the Hon. N. D. Sperry of New Haven. 


or six miles distant, was plundered, fifteen houses burned, including the 
dwelling of the minister, Eev. Mr. Kipley, and the church, eleven barns, 
aud several stores. The militia attacked the invaders and very much 
shortened their stay. They re-embarked on the 8th and sailed across the 
Sound to Huntington, to rest and recruit for further ignoble exploits. 

On the following Saturday the cloud of sails was once more moving 
toward the Connecticut shore. Norwalk was doomed. The ene- 
my landed Sunday morning. Tryon took possession of a small ^ 
hill, where with chairs and a table he sat wTiting his orders and over- 
seeing the destruction of the town. The inhabitants fled to the moun- 
tains, taking such valuables as they could carry. The old Benedict 
homestead, which had been in the possession of the family since the first 
settlement of the town, was not Ijurned at first, but consigned to the flames 
as the British were retiring, which were happily extinguished through 
the efforts of a negro slave who had concealed himself in the bushes near 
by. Mrs. Maiy Benedict Pliilipse, the wife of Ebenezer Philipse, mounted 
her horse and drove a number of cattle before lier into the country. One 
hundred and thirty-five houses were burned, including the old mansions 
of Governor Fitch and Nathaniel Eaymoud, together with two churches, 
eighty-nine barns, forty stores and shops, five vessels, and four mills. 
Six houses only were left standing. 

The militia, who rallied, interposed some opposition, but they were few 
in numbers, and the British force was strong. Wolcott and Parsons came 
forwanl rapidly from tlie vicinity of the Hudson, arriving the next morning. 

In tlie mean time Sir Henry Clinton had withdrawn from Verplanck's 
Point all the troops not strictly destined for the garrison, with whom, in 
addition to several thousand others, he advanced to the heights near 
Marmaroneck, not far from the Connecticut line, in order to co-operate 
with Tryon should Washington march eastward ; from this point he sent 
troops to burn the towns of Bedford, Salem, and North Castle, not even 
sparing their places of public worship. But a surprise was being pre- 
pared for the British commanders, which brought them suddenly to New 
York, and stayed further destruction upon the Connecticut coast. 

A design upon Stony Point was culminating, which for its daring, and 
its combination of skill, prudence, foresight, careful attention to details, 
and absolute obedience on the part of the men concerned, and its con- 
spicuous success, was one of the most brilliant achievements of the war. 
Washington selected a body of light infantry for this critical service from 
the various regiments of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsyl- 
vania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. The New York and New Jersey 
forces were chiefly on their way into the Indian country with Sullivan. 


Every field officer chosen had proved his aVjiUty and valor on former oc- 
casions. The leadership was assigned to Autliony Wayne, a handsome, 
impetuous, magnetic, dashing Pennsylvanian of thirty-four, styled " Dandy 
Wayne " among his companions because of his fastidious notions about 
dress. He said he had " rather risk his life and reputation at the head of 
the same men in an attack clothed and appointed as he wished, with a single 
charge of annnunition, than to take them as they appeared in common, 
with sixty rounds of cartridges " ; and Washington evidently sympathized 
with his tastes and gratified them to the extent of liis narrow means. 
Under Wayne were Colonels Richard Butler and Udney Hay of Pennsyl- 
vania, Colonel Christian Febiger, and the gallant De Fleury, who after- 
wards became field marshal of France, commanding Virginians, Major 
John Steward of Maryland, Colonel Return Jonathan Meigs of Sagg 
Harbor fame, Colonel Isaac Sherman, son of Roger Sherman of New 
Haven, Major William Hull, uncle of Commodore Hull of the Constitution, 
and Major Hardy Murfree, the pioneer of Murfreesborough, Tennessee, 
with two North Carolina companies. 

The arrangements were conducted with the utmost secrecy. At noon 
on Thursday, July 15, Wayne and his noble twelve hundred left Sandy 
Beach, fourteen miles above Stony Point, and marched over the roughest 
of roads and pathways, the column stretched out the greater part of the 
way in single file. At eight in the evening they halted a mile and a half 
from the fort, and the officers reconnoitered. Midnight was the time 
fixed for the attack. The men lounged by the roadside three hours and 
a half in silence, under the enforced penalty of instant death. At half 
past eleven the time was up, and a whispered call quivered along the 
line. Each man knew the watchword, and bore upon his cap a patch of 
white paper to save him from his friends. They advanced with unloaded 
muskets and fixed bayonets. Whoever should attempt to load his piece 
without orders was to be put to death on the spot by the officer next him. 
Two colunms were to break into the fort from nearly opposite points 
in silence, doing their work with the bayonet, while Murfree and his 
North Carolinians were to take position in front and draw attention 
to themselves by a rapid and continuous fire. Wayne led the right 
column, spear in liand, Butler the left. They were discovered by the 
pickets, and every man in the garrison was up, completely dressed, and at 
his proper station. Stony Point was a bold, rocky peninsula nearly two 
hundred feet high, jutting out into and bounded on tliree sides by the 
river, and almost isolated from tlie land by a marsh, which, it being high 
tide, was now two feet under water. From the formidable Ijreastworks 
on the summit thundered gun after gun while yet the assaulters were 


wading the stream. But they faltered not. Up the hill they ran, the 
bellowing cannon in their faces, and the musket-balls whistling around 
their ears. Every officer performed his part to the lettei\ One and 
another fell. The brave Colonel Hay was wounded in the thigh. Ezra 
Selden of Lyme, a handsome young officer fresh from Yale at the opening 
of the war, received a wellnigh fatal wound in the side, but he made his 
way into the fort. Wayne, with every sense alive, balancing all chances 
and duties while apparently wild with the fierce outcry which fired the 
veins of his men, fell backward with a wound in his head ; but he rallied 
and directed his two aids to carry him along, and in five minutes more 
the whole party were rushing into the fort through every embrasure, and 
a thousand tongues let loose repeated the crj'', " The fort 's our own ! " 

The astonished Britons fell back into the corners of the fort under the 
terrible charge ; De Fleury, first in, hauled down the flags, Sherman of 
Connecticut rushed over the space and grasped Butler of Pennsylvania 
by the hand as he climbed in from the north. Murfree came upon a 
run from the marsh, leaping in to join in the glory ; and the surrender of 
the whole garrison was immediate. Tradition says that the enemy fell 
upon their knees, crying, " Mercy, dear Americans ' Mercy ! " However 
they may have asked for quarter, from the moment the cry was heard 
every bayonet was uplifted and not a man was hurt thereafter. 
The commander came forward and delivered up his sword, and a 
line was thrown around the prisoners, numbering five hundred and forty- 
six ; some fifty-eight had jumped down the rocks in the darkness and es- 
caped, and the killed and wounded numbered ninety-four. Fifteen Amer- 
icans were killed, and six officers and privates wounded. 
The whole action occupied- only twenty minutes after the first shot. 

The cheers that rent the air with one common impulse were answered 
by the British ships in tlie river, and the garrison at Verplanck's Point 
opposite. "Ha, the fools think we are beaten '" exclaimed an officer; and 
the guns were whirled round riverward, and the fiery story was told in 
such language as compelled the ships to slip their cables and drop down 
the river in .sullen silence. Washington's original idea had been to attack 
Verplanck's Point simultaneously, but he modified his plan so far as to 
attempt only a feint, conducted by Colonel Eufus Putnam, who alarmed 
that garrison the moment he heard firing across the river, effectually pre- 
venting any effort to aid Stony Point, and withdrew from the vicinity in 
the morning. The total value of the ordnance and stores captured by 
Wayne was estimated at over one hundred and eighty thousand dollars. 
The news of the event spread swiftly over the country, and the heroic 
band was everywhere applauded. Even the enemy lavished encomiums 

VOL. 11. 15 


upon the professional skill with which extraordinary difficulties were 
surmounted, and the high soldierly qualities of the storming party. " It 
was worth a dukedom," writes Joseph Eoswell Hawley, " to have been 
even a private there that night." 

Washington did not attempt to retain Stony Point, as it was too far 
advanced from his main army ; he simply removed the stores and 
artillery, burned the barracks, and demolished and evacuated the fortress. 
Sir Henry Clinton, who at the time was in possession of the whole county 
of Westchester, employing men, protected by detachments of soldiers, to 
cut the hay from all the farms in the region, retreated with the first news 
rapidly to New York, calling in his haymakers and their covering parties. 
He doubtless expected a descent upon the city. Learning, however, that 
Stony Point had been abandoned, he took possession the second time, 
and rebuilt and garrisoned the fort ; but in the month of November with- 
drew his forces from both Stony Point and Verplanck's Point, and demol- 
ished the works. Washington then took peaceable and final possession, 
and rebuilt and garrisoned them. 

While America was proudly rejoicing over the exploit of Wayne, a 
quiet wedding occurred at Baskenridge, New Jersey. WiUiam 
Duer, who had been so prominent in the New York Congress, and 
a member of the Continental Congress, was married to Lady Kitty, 
daughter of Lord Stirling. John Jay escaped from his duties at Philadel- 
phia, and with his wiie graced the occasion ; the mansion swarmed with 
the relatives of the family, many bright and winsome belles were present, 
and several army officers. 

In the midst of the banquet which followed, the sitiiation of Paulus 
Hook was discussed. Attached to Lord Stirling's command was the young 
and daring Henry Lee, afterwards governor of Virginia, who sought to 
attack the British post at that point, which had been held by the en- 
emy with great tenacity since 1776, and was in reality the only safe spot 
on the Jersey shore for their marauding parties to land. Lord Stirling 
favored Lee's project, but Washington hesitated for a time, deeming the 
attempt too hazardous. Permission was finally obtained from tlie com- 
mander-in-chief, and Lord Stirling, with five hundred men, moved down 
to the Hackensack bridge to be in position to cover Lee's retreat if neces- 
sary. With about three hundred infantry and a troop of dismounted 
dragoons, Lee boldly swooped down upon the post in the night 
with such celerity, address, and vigor, that he captured one Imu- 
dred and fifty-nine men, with the loss of only two killed and three 
wounded. He had been directed to make no effort to hold the position, 
. and returned safely with his prisoners to the Am,erican lines. This auda- 


cious achievement, within sight of New York and almost within the reach 
ol its guns, was very galling to the British officers. Great praise was 
awarded to Lee for his spirited and prudent conduct of the enterprise, 
and especially for his humanity. 

Ten days later Sullivan gained a victory over the Indians under Brandt, 
who was assisted by Sir John and Colonel Guy Johnson, and the 
two Butlers ; they had thrown up breastworks and intrenchments 
half a mile long at Newtown, where the city of Elmira now stands. The 
conflict was not of long duration. The enemy were outflanked, and, scat- 
tering, fled. Indians and Tories aUke made their way to Niagara, one of 
the strong points which Washington most desired to possess, but which 
was not attacked, to the great disappointment of both "Washington and 
Congress. Sullivan visited a terrible retribution upon the savages for 
their havoc and slaughter of 1778. Forty towns were destroyed. Not a 
cabin nor a roof from the Genesee valley to the Susc^uehanna was left 
standing. Their homes, their orchards, their crops, their possessions, 
were all annihilated. The manifest inability of England to protect them 
inclined the Six Nations ultimately to desire neutrality. 

Sir Henry Clinton was disconcerted and surly as one batch of disagree- 
able news after another reached him in New York City. The loyalists 
criticised his acts and his inaction, whieli did not improve his temper. 
In October a rumor that the French sqiuidron was about to imite with 
Washington in an attack upon the metropolis induced him to order the 
evacuation of Ehode Island, and the troops, in hastening to New York, left 
all the wood and forage collected for six thousand men during the winter 
beliind them. The post was immediately occupied by a body of Ameri- 
can troops. Clinton learned finally that Count D'Estaiug had abandoned 
the siege of Savannah and retired to the West Indies. The Southern 
campaign had been novel and exciting, ever presenting splendid prospects, 
sometimes to one side, sometimes to the other, and turning at the moment 
of anticipated success into bitter disappointment. Clinton himself sailed 
late in December, under the convoy of Admiral Arbuthnot, with seven 
thousand men, to operate against Charleston, South Carolina, leaving 
Knyphausen in command of New York. 

Washington's headquarters were at West Point during the autumn. 
Here he welcomed Luzerne, the new minister from France, who had re- 
cently landed at Boston, and was on a circuitous route to Philadelphia. 
" He was polite enough," said Washington, " to condescend to appear 
pleased with our Spartan living." Prior to the advent of the French dig- 
nitary, Washington invited Mrs. Dr. Cochrane and Mrs. Walter Livings- 
ton to dine with him, and in a humorous letter to the doctor apprised 
them of their prospective fai-e. He wrote : — 


" Since our arrival at this happy spot, we have had a ham, sometimes a shoul- 
der of bacon, to grace the head of the table ; a piece of roast beef adorns the 
foot ; and a disli of beans or greens decorates the center. When the cook has a 
mind to cut a figure, which I presume will be the case to-morrow, we have two 
beefsteak pies, or dishes of crabs in addition, one on each side of the center dish, 
to reduce the distance between dish and dish to about six feet, wliich without them 
would be about twelve feet apart. Of late he has had the surprising sagacity to 
discover that apples will make pies, and it is a question, if, in the violence of his 
efforts, we do not get one of apples instead of having both of beefsteak. If the 
ladies can put up with such entertainment, and will submit to partake of it on 
plates once tin but now iron (not become so by the labor of scouring), I shall be 
liappy to see them." 

The increasing difficulties in the way of providing for the army 
threatened the most alarming consequences. Every branch of trade vi'as 
unsettled and deranged, and the price of every commodity rising in pro- 
portion as the paj)er money depreciated in value. Liabilities to the 
enormous amount of two hundred millions of this currency had been 
issued, and no portion of it was redeemed. Every remedy adopted proved 
impracticable or aggravated the evil. A delegation from Congress din- 
ing with the officers of the army one autumn day, Eobert Morris, of the 
party, was bewailing the miserable condition of the treasury. Baron 
Steuben exclaimed : — 

" But are you not financier ? Why do you not create funds ? " 

" I have done all I can ; it is not possible for me to do more," replied 

" And yet you remain financier without finances ? " 

" Yes." 

" Well, then, I do not think you are as honest a man as my cook. He 
came to me one day and said, ' Baron, I am your cook, and you have 
nothing to cook but a piece of lean beef which is hung up by a string 
before tlie fire. Your negro wagoner can turn the string as well as I can ; 
you have promised me ten dollars a month ; but as you have nothing to 
cook I wish to be discharged and no longer chai-geable to you.' That 
was an honest fellow, Morris." 

In the mean time Spain had entered into a secret alliance with France 
against England, and war was waged in various quarters of the globe. 
The intelligence reached Congress while that body was deliberating upon 
the instructions to be given to ambassadors, who in connection with 
French statesmen were to negotiate a treaty of peace with England as 
opportunity might arise. John Adams, who had returned from his French 
mission in the same vessel with Luzerne, was chosen, and authorized to 


act as negotiator, proceeding again to Paris. And although Spain had not 
yet acknowledged the independence of the United States, John Jay, the 
President of Congress, was dispatched as minister plenipotentiary to the 
Court of Madrid, to accomplish a direct alliance if possible with that 
power. He sailed on a few days' notice, October 10, accompanied liy Ins 
wife, and her brother, Brockholst Livingston, as his private secretary. 
M. Gerard returned home in the same vessel. 

The year closed gloomily for England. Lord Gower and Lord Wey- 
mouth, disapproving of the continued struggle with America, retired from 
the government. The Earl of Coventry lamented in the House of Lords 
that a war so fatal to Great Britian should ever have been begun, and 
declared that if the propositions he had made during the last session of 
Parliament had been regarded, England would ha\'e been at that hour 
<at peace with America. In tlie House of Commons great heat was ex- 
hibited. Fox caustically asked, "What has become of the American 
war?" The king, it seems, had not even mentioned it in his speech at 
the opening of the autumn session. " Is the war totally extinct, like the 
war of ancient Troy?" continued Fox, referring to that silence. " What 
produced the French rescript and the French war i WJiat produced 
the Spanish manifesto and the Spanish war ? What has wasted forty 
millions of money and sixty thousand lives ? What has arnaed forty- 
two thousand men in Ireland with arguments carried on the points of 
forty-two thousand bayonets ? For what is England about to incur an 
additional debt of twelve or fourteen millions the ensuing year? Is it 
not that accursed, diabolical, and cruel American war ? " 

The American army went into winter-quarters at Morristown, log-luits 
being erected, as at Valley Forge and ]\Iiddlebrook. It was a season of 
great severity. The snow, for four uKinths, averaged from four to six feet 
deep. The bay of New York was frozen over so firndy that two liun- 
dred sleighs laden with provisions, with tw-o liorses each, escorted Ijy two 
hundred light horse, passed over it from New York to Staten Island in a 
body. Loaded teams crossed the Hudson on the ice at Paulus Hook, and 
all tlie rivers, creeks, harbors, ports, and brooks were frozen solid in e\-eiy 
direction. The shivering soldiers almost perished for want of proper 
food, and were alternately without bread or meat, and sometimes des- 
titute of both. Washington and his military family occupied the Ford 
Mansion, and at each end of the house an addition was made of logs, one 
for a kitchen and the other for an office. Late in December Mrs. Wash- 
ington arrived, riding a spirited horse, and escorted by a guard of Virginia 
troops, having for two days bra\'ed tlie perils of a terrible storm of wind 
and snow. She remained at headquarters until spring. 





Significance of Events. — New York City in 1780. — Forays into New Jersey. — 
Camp Life at Morristown. — Alexander Hamilton. — Elizabeth Schuyler. — 
Arnold under a Cloud. — Return of Laf.4.yette. — Capture of Charleston. 

— Burning of Connecticut Farms. — Battle of Springfield. — Sir Henry Clin- 
ton at Easthampton. —Treason of Arnold. — Aaron Burr. — Execution of Andre. 

— Unpopularity of the War in England. — Correspondence of Hartley and 
Franklin. — The French Army. — Count Rochambeau. — Washington at Dobb's 
Ferry. «— The Conflict at the South. — Burning of New London. — Surrender of 
Lord Cornwallis. —Marauding Parties. —Sir Guy Carleton. — Peace Negoti- 
ations. — Suspension of Hostilities. — Signing the Definitive Treaty of Peace. 

— David Hartley. — The Cincinnati. — The Evacuation of the City of New York 
BY THE British. — Grand Entry of the American Army. 

THE value of events can never be seen whUe they are transpiring. 
It is only in the calm light of their influences that they may be 
properly estimated. Great affairs oftentimes take their rise from small 
circumstances. The philosophers, politicians, and warriors of the Revolu- 
tion, astute, wary, and stul^born as we find them, had little conception of 
the magnitude of their undertaking. Here and there were original minds, 
comprehensible and flexible enough to become the founders of a nation. 
Others, equally fervid by intensity of conviction, and imbued with a cer- 
tain wise, strong sense of diplomacy, were masters of the situation only 
through the sweep of vast impulses behind them. The future was un- 
certain. No electric cable supplied at evening the policy for the next 
morning. The leaders of thought and the leaders of armies were alike 
groping in a dense cloud. Soldiers sleeping in the snow with a fire at 
their feet, and spending cold, wintry days in idly repining over hardship 
and inaction, knew not that they were working out results so grand that 
time would but add to their luster in all the centuries to come. In that 
severe school was a continual dramatic movement. Standards of duty, 
rules of action, and habits of thinking destined to impart a tinge and a 

iVEW YUltK CITY IX 1780. 231 

flavor to the broader culture and sweeter disposition of later days, were 
constantly bursting into life. And although the knowledge was with- 
lield from the actors and suflerers in the projection of the national 
structure, we know that within one hundred years it has grown to a place 
in the front rank of great nations. 

The city of New York, where the government of our Union was .shortly 
to receive the first pulsations of existence, and where more than else- 
where its benefits are now seen, was the central point around which the 
chief events of the Revolution revolved. The years during which the 
main body of the American army hovered in significant proximity — 
almost within sight of her steeples — were fraught with all the romance 
which belongs to the mediieval struggles of European races. The fortunes 
of her citizens were as varied as any conceit of the vivid imagina- 
tion. Witliin her stately mansions the officers of King George lived like 
princes, and within her harbor the fleets anchored which were to terrify 
the whole Southern seaboard ; while just beyond the waters that laved 
her western shores every hill-top and tree was like a watchful sentinel. 
No military movement in any direction could l)e executed witliout dis- 
covery, save imder the cover of midnight darkness. Washington's si>ies 
passed in and out of the city despite the utmost vigilance. And Wash- 
ington himself, with unerring sagacity, remained among the fastnesses of 
New Jersey, with his eye upon Manhattan Island, while he detached 
regiment after regiment of his l)est troops for the support of the South. 

As the winter advanced the inhabitants of the metropolis were dis- 
tressed for firewood and food to a degree never before exjierienced. The 
snow was so deep that forest-trees could hardly be extricated from their 
native wilds after being felled. Ornamental and fruit trees were attacked, 
and before spring the streets and lanes, gardens and gi-ounds, were shorn 
of their treasures. Wall Street surrendered some of its beautiful shade 
trees, more than a century old, to be converted into fuel for the family of 
General Eiedesel. The baroness writes : " We were often obliged to borrow 
wood of General Tryon for Saturday and Sunday, which we would return 
on Monday if we received any." The poor burned fat to cook their 
meals. Provisions were alarmingly scarce, and so costly as to exhaust the 
means of the wealthiest. Fifty dollars would not feed a family two days. 
In vain the British generals entreated the farmers of Long Island and 
vicinity to bring tlieir produce to market ; and foraging parties were 
equally unsuccessful ; for the country people buried meat, corn, oats, and 
vegetables beneath the snow on the first intimation of their approach, 
and hied to the mountains, carrying old family furniture beyond their 
reach. In their rage at finding barns empty, cattle gone, and farm-houses 


deserted, the foragers applied the torch and desolated whole districts, 
thus increasing not only the general misery, but tlie determination of 
America to be free. 

To add to the cheerlessness of New York, the men-of-war in the bay 
were immovably ice-bound, and an army with its heaviest artillery and 
baggage might at any moment cross the Hudson on the ice. Knyphau- 
sen expected Washington, and took ineasures accordingly. Eefugees and 
loyalists formed themselves into military companies and were subjected 
to garrison duty. But the Americans at Morristown were in no condition 
to take advantage of the opportunity for a descent upon the city. The 
whistling winds were drifting snow above their heads, their garments 
were worn and thin, and many of the men had no shoes. The utmost 
discomfort prevailed even at headquarters. " Eighteen of my family," 
wrote Washington, " and all of Mrs. Ford's are crowded together in her 
kitchen, and scarce one of them able to speak for the colds they have 
caught." The distress for provision became so appalling that an appeal 
was made to the people of New Jersey direct, who responded nobly. 
Colonel Matthias Ogden collected cattle and grain in Essex County, and 
tlie temporary relief afforded induced Washington, about the middle of 
January, to give .some twenty-five hundred of his best overcoated troops 
a little exercise. An expedition to Staten Island was placed under the 
command of Lord Stirling, the object being to capture a British encamp- 
ment. Five hundred sleds and sleighs were procured to convey the 
party to Elizabeth, whence they crossed on the ice in the night 
from De Hart's Point ; but the enemy, apprised of their approach, 
were strongly fortified, and intrenched behind an abatis of snow ten feet 
high, therefore an attack was deemed unjustifiable. After remaining 
twenty-four hours on the island, the Americans withdrew, with five hun- 
dred or more frozen ears and hands, and a cpiantity of blankets and stores. 
At Decker's Ferry they captured and destroyed nine sailing-vessels, and 
took a few prisoners. Some of the men had disobeyed their superiors 
and committed depredations upon the residents of Staten Island, for 
which they suffered severe punishment. Lord Stirling required all stolen 
property returned to Eev. -James Caldwell of Elizabeth, who was to 
return it to the owners. Washington, who had in general orders warnetl 
the whole army against robbing the inhabitants on any pretext whatever, 
taught wholesome moral lessons by his treatment of incorrigible offenders. 
Thatcher says in his journal that death was inflicted, in some aggravated 
instances, for the crime of robbery, but that the penalty usually, after a 
fair trial, and conviction by a court-martial, was public whipping, in 
keeping with the practice of the times in both England and America. 


Ten days later the Britisli crossed the ice in the night, one party visit- 
in" Newark, and anotlier entering Elizabeth aliout the same hour. 

Jan 25 

The Newark Academy, on the upper green, was burned, several 
houses plundered, and thirty-four prisoners taken, among wliom was Judge 
Joseph Hedden, one of the Committee of Public Safety, whom they com- 
pelled to walk to Paulus Hook in his night-shirt ; he died a few days 
subsequently in consequence of the exposure. At EHzabeth the court- 
house and the Presbyterian Church were burned, a number of dwellings 
plundered, and a few prominent men carried off as prisoners. The guard, 
under llajor Eccles, numbering about sixty, was captured on the start. 
The guides of the enemy were natives of Elizabeth, familiar with all the 
roads, and knew all the residents of the town. 

Washington sent General .St, Clair on the 27th to investigate the situ- 
ation, and re-establish guards along the shore of the frozen waters of the 
bay. But in spite of all precautions Eahway was visited on the 30th by 
a band of refugees, and a pleasure-party broken up without warning. 
Eight men were seized and carried off, several young ladies robbed of all 
their jewelry, and among other trophies three handsome sleighs and ten 
fine horses were taken to New York City on the ice. On the 10th of Feb- 
ruary another foray into Elizabeth by a circuitous route resulted in the 
capture of five or six citizens, and the plundering of as many good houses, 
of which were the old mansion of Governor Belcher, and the residence 
of William Peartree Smith and his son-in-law, Elisha Boudinot, who were 
fortunately out of town. The war, degenerating into midnight robberies, 
had trained and let loose upon "society a class of murderous thieves, who, 
under the cover of British protection and the pretense of serving the king, 
furnished a chapter of horrors which could never be forgotten by the peo- 
ple of that generation. It was impossible to guard the whole long stretch 
of shore, and while the ice lasted the nights seemed chiefly devoted to 
barbarous raids. At Morristown the utmost precaution against a surprise 
was maintained. Pickets were thrown out towards the Hudson and the 
Earitan, and the firing of a gun in the distance would be answered by 
discharges along the whole line of sentinels to the camp and headquarters. 
On such occasions Washington's life-guard, commanded by '\\''illiam 
Colfax, grandhither of Schuyler Colfax, housed in log-huts near at hand, 
would rush to tlie Ford Mansion, barricade the doors, and throw up the 
windows ; five, witli muskets ready for action, were generally stationed at 
every window behind drawn curtains, until the troops from camp could 
be assembled and the cause of the alarm discovered. Mrs. Washington 
and the other ladies were obliged to lie in bed, sometimes for hours, with 
their rooms filled with guards, and the keen wintry winds Ijlowing 
through the house. 



As the intensity of the cold abated, and supplies became more abundant, 
the spirits of the army revived. The youthful Alexander Hamilton was 
the life of Washington's household. He had been aide-de-camp and secre- 
tary to the commander-in-chief since March, 1777, and had won special 
favor and confidence. His Scotch strength and French vivacity, his grace- 
ful manners and witty speeches, were a perpetual attraction. His figure 
was slight, erect, and expressive, his complexion boyishly fair, and his fea- 
tures lighted with intel- 
ligence and sweetness. 
He wore his powdered 
hair thrown back from 
his forehead and cued 
in the back, and his 
dress was faultlessly 
elegant on all occa- 
sions. He presided 
at the head of Wash- 
ington's table, and was 
usually the smallest as 
well as the youngest 
man present. Wash- 
ington sat upon one 
side, with Mrs. Wash- 
ington at his right 
hand. Hamilton had 
already evinced ex- 
ceptional aptitude for 
the solution of finan- 
cial problems, and the 
originality of his opinions induced the general belief that he possessed 
the highest order of genius. As an individual he probably inspired 
warmer attachments among his friends and more bitter hatred from his 
foes than any other man in New York history. 

An event occurred in February which colored the whole life of the 
future statesman and juri-st. Elizabeth Schuyler, one of the daughters of 
General Philip Schuyler, came to Morristown to spend the spring months 
with her aunt, Mrs. Dr. Cochrane, then residing in a cottage near head- 
quarters. She was a beauty and a belle ; small, delicately formed, with 
a bewitching face illuminated by brilliant black eyes. No young lady 
of her time had been more 'carefullj' educated or more highly bred. Her 
father's home in Albany had always been the resort of all that was most 

Alexander Hamilton. 

[From the painting by Trumbull in iiossession of tlie Chamber of Commerce.] 




cultivated aud polished in the social life of what Walpole styled " the 
proud and opulent colony of New York " ; and its courtly hospitalities 
had been from time to time enjoyed hy notable representatives of the 
Old- World aristocracy. She was descended not only from a long line 
of Schuylers, but from the Van Reusselaers, Van Cortlandts, and Livings- 
tons — the great feudal lords of the Colonial period — which, it being still 
the age when the distinctions of rank and caste were held in severe 
respect, lent an added 
interest to her personal 
charms. She came 
like a fresh flower into 
the dreariness of that 
winter scene of frost, 
alarm, and despond- 
ency ; and Hamilton 
was presently her de- 
voted lover. Erelong 
General Philip Schuy- 
ler himself arrived 
at headquarters, the 
chairman of a com- 
mittee from Congress, 
empowered to act in 
the name of that body 
for various and definite 
objects relative to the 
re-enlistment of troops 
aud the exigencies of 
the coming campaign, 
expecting to remain 
with the army all summer. He was accompanied by I\Irs. Schuyler, aud 
with their sanction the youthful pair were betrothed, being married the 
following December. 

The accomplished Kitty Livingston, daughter of the governor, passed 
the early part of the winter in Philadelphia, and returned to " Liberty 
Hall," under the escort of General Schuyler, wliile on his route to Morris- 
town. She wrote to her sister, ilrs. Jay, in Madrid, of the admiration 
the wife of Chancellor Livingston — now in Congress — had elicited in 
Philadelphia, and of her intimacy with Mrs. Roljert Morris. She said 
Colonel Morgan Lewis, who was married in May, 1779, at Clermont, to 
Gertrude, the sister of Chancellor Livingston, had purchased a house in 

Mrs. Alexander Hamilton. 

[Elizabeth. d.iu^'hter of General Philip Schuyler.J 


Albany ; and tliat Lady Mary and Eobert "Watts had rented Mrs. Eichard 
Montgomery's farm for two years, in order to leave New York City. 
She described the French Minister, his secretary, M. Marbois, and a 
Spanish dignitary, Don Juan de Miralles, all of whom had wagered tliat 
Mrs. Jay used paint to produce the brilliancy of her complexion, and 
that she would go to plays on Sunday while in Spain. Even the Eev. 
Dr. Witherspoon, while pronouncing Mrs. Jay a philosopher, had inti- 
mated to the piquant Miss Kitty that he had been questioned upon the 
subject of her sister's artificial coloring. A few months later Mrs. Eobert 
Morris wrote to Mrs. Jay that the ChevaUer de la Luzerne was convinced 
of his error, had gracefully acquiesced in the loss of his bet, and had 
presented Miss Kitty with a handsome dress-cap. 

These foreign noblemen visited headquarters in April, and were received 

with military honors. Washington, accompanied by his staff, and the 

congressional committee, conducted them to Orange Mountain, to 

April 24. ° . 

obtain a distant view of New York and the position of the enemy ; 
and, mounted upon splendid horses, with their troop of aids, and servants, 
they formed a striking cavalcade. Baron Steuben exhibited the dis- 
cipline and tactics of the troops by a grand review ; a large stage was 
erected in the field, which Thatcher says " was crowded by officers, ladies, 
and gentlemen of distinction from the country, among whom was Gov- 
ernor Livingston of New Jersey and his lady." This display was followed 
by a ball in the evening at the Morris Hotel. 

Arnold had just been tried by a court-martial for his irregular con- 
duet while in command of Philadelphia, and sentenced to a reprimand 
from the commander-in-chief, which was administered with consummate 
delicacy. Public opinion was divided in his case. His brilliant, soldierly 
qualities, and his daring exploits spoke eloquently in his behalf, whUe his 
ostentatious and costly style of living, with his debts and his government 
accounts yet unsettled, had excited suspicions of his integrity. He had 
occupied one of the finest houses in the Quaker City, indulged in a 
chariot and four, given splendid entertainments, and was known to have 
made temporary use of the public moneys passing through his hands. 
He had courted and married Margaret, the daughter of Edward Shippen, 
afterwards Chief Justice of Pennsylvania, and it was known that the 
family were not well affected to the American cause. In the exercise of 
his military functions he had become involved in disputes with the 
State government, and lost forever the confidence of that body. Noth- 
ing fraudulent was proved against him, but his course was pronounced 
imprudent and reprehensible. He now appeared before the public a 
soldier crippled in its service, seeking a new appointment; and Wash- 


ington, knowing his abilities, was disposed in his favor. He subse- 
quently obtained the important command of West Point. 

On the 12th of May, the same day that Sir Henry Clinton captured 
the army under General Lincoln at Charleston, Lafayette arrived at 
Morristown by way of Boston, and met with a rapturous greeting 
from the entire army. Washington folded him in his arms with ^ 
profound emotion. There was something singularly impressive in the 
enthusiastic devotion of this young French nobleman to a doubtful 
cause, in a far distant land. His second coming was the more wel- 
come since it had been generally predicted that he would never return. 
He brought the glad tidings of a French army already upon the Atlantic, 
sent, to aid America in the ensuing campaign. Eemaining at headquar- 
ters but one day, he hastened to Philadelphia, as he was charged with 
messages from his government to Congress. 

By no one was he received with more cordial grace than the brilliant 
and versatile Gouverneur Morris, who complimented him with one of his 
characteristic dinners, at which the arts of conversation were displayed to 
the greatest advantage. Morris was particularly happy in his intercourse 
with foreigners ; he was a man of pleasure, generous, gay, original, spark- 
ling with humor, and polite to a faidt, and with his convivial and social 
qualities was united a marvelous genius for affairs. But like his Morris 
ancestry, with whom the reader is familiar, he abounded in whimsical 
peculiarities. He owned a famous pair of gray horses, which, when 
brought to the door in front of his stylish phaeton, he insisted, with 
immoderate expletives, should stand unrestrained by either groom or rein 
while he mounted to his seat. The next morning, after the banquet given 
to Lafayette, they ran away with him, throwing him upon the Philadelphia 
pavement with such violence that his leg was broken, and subsequently 
amputated just below the knee. It was esteemed an " irreparable misfor- 
tune," and sympathy was extended from every quarter. The day after 
the accident a clerical friend called to offer consolation, and dwelt at 
some length upon the good effects which the melancholy event would 
be likely to produce upon the moral character of a young man, when 
Morris interrupted him with the remark, " My good sir, you argue the 
matter so handsomely, and point out so clearly the advantage of being 
without legs, that I am almost tempted to part with the other." 

It was three or four months before he was able to leave his room, and 
his quick preceptions, fertility of resources, and energetic counsels were 
severely missed by Congress in that crisis. The machinery of credit, 
paper circulation, and forced certificates, had run its race, and was about 
tumbling into ruins ; the impending danger to the whole national fabric 


was mauifest to all, while how to avert it was the problem uo one yet could 
solve. Congress adopted vigorous resolutions for raising money and 
troops, and the State governments made laws, but the execution of either 
was attended with innumerable delays. Individuals contributed largely 
to the public funds ; and ladies in various parts of the country started 
subscriptions for the relief of the army. In the mean time there was 
a famine. The soldiers had no bread. Washington knew not which 
way to turn. New Jersey was exhausted through the long residence 
of the army. New York by legislative coercion had given all she could 
spare from the subsistence of her inhabitants. Virginia was sufficiently 
taxed to supply the South. Maryland and Delaware had made gi'eat 
exertion, and might perhaps do more. Pennsylvania was represented as 
full of flour, and Washington finally made a powerful appeal to Joseph 
Eeed, president of her executive council. " All our departments are 
without money or credit, all our operations are at a stand," he wrote ; 
" the patience of the soldiery is wearing out, and we see in every line of 
the army features of mutiny and sedition. Any idea you can form 
of our distress wiU fall short of the reality. We can no longer drudge 
on in the old way. Unless a new system, very different from that which 
has a long time prevailed be immediately adopted throughout the States, 
our affairs must soon become desperate beyond the possibility of economy." 
His letter procured supplies, but not on flying railway trains ; ere laden 
wagons moved slowly across the country, two Connecticut regiments 
paraded under arms, announcing their resolve to return home or procure 
food at the point of the bayonet. No other man tlian Washington 
could have grappled with and overcome these difficulties. He not only 
retained the mutineers in service, but restrained them with discipline, 
managing with such consummate discretion as to command their affec- 
tion while winning the confidence of the whole country. 

On the 28th of May the official report of the surrender of Charleston 
was received at headquarters. About the same time New Jersey 
■ refugees in New York City represented to Knyphausen that the 
troops under Washington were hopelessly discontented and mutinous, 
and that the inhabitants of New Jersey had become so tired of the vexa- 
tious compulsory requisitions for the support of the army, that they 
would seize the opportunity to throw off their allegiance to Congress if 
a British force was sent to their assistance. Believing this, the German 
veteran ordered nineteen regiments into the much-afflicted State across 
the Hudson. They sailed to Staten Island on the 6th of June, 
crossing in the night to Elizabethtown Point. Early the next 
morning the whole force was in motion, commanded by Knyphausen. 


The sun was risiug in a clear sky as the " Queen's Eangers," a splendid 
body of dragoons, mounted on very large and beautiful horses, with drawn 
swords and glittering helms, entered the village of Elizabeth, followed by 
the infantry, " every man clad in new uniforms, complete in panoply, and 
gorgeous with burnished brass and polished steel." The whole body 
numbered six thousand. 

But the proud leaders soon discovered their mistake. If the people 
had murmured because of the exactions of Washington, they had never 
thought of abandoning the cause of their country. The militia were every- 
where out in small parties to oppose them, and the fences and the bushes 
were ablaze with musketry. The brigadier who commanded the van 
was unhoi-sed with a fractured thigh while yet in Elizabeth, and the 
column was harassed all the way to Connecticut Farms, a distance of seven 
miles. The troops of the enemy were kept in perfect order during the 
march, committing no deeds of violence. General Maxwell withdrew his 
brigade towards Springfield, making a stand on the rising ground back of 
the Farms' village, and again on the east side of the Eahway Eiver ; he 
was joined by Colonel Elias Dayton, who had retired from Elizabeth before 
the enemy, to their great annoyance. In the afternoon the militia flocked 
to the defense from all quarters, and the fighting was per]:3etual. In the 
midst of his chagrin at the turn events were taking, Knyphausen learned 
that Washington, hearing of the invasion, had thrown his whole force 
into the strong post of Short Hills ; it was also apparent that the mutinous 
disposition of the American army had vanished as soon as distress — not 
disaffection — had ceased to affect the mind. As night approached, heavy 
clouds loomed up in the western sky. A retreat was ordered, and at ten 
in the evening the whole pompous array of horse and foot and flying 
artillery retrod their route of the morning, in strict silence, and in the 
midst of a drenching thunder-storm. They had distinguished themselves 
by plundering and burning the little village of Connecticut Farms, and 
by murdering the lovely wife of Eev. James Caldwell. " Nothing more 
awful than this retreat can be imagined," wrote one of Knyphausen's 
guards, " the rain, with the terril)le tliunder and lightning, the darkness 
of the night, the houses at Connecticut Farms in a blaze, the dead bodies, 
wjiich the light of the fire or the lightning showed now and then on the 
road, and the dread of the enemy, completed the scene of hoiTor. It 
thundered and lightened so severely as to frighten the horses, and once or 
twice the whole army halted, being deprived of sight for a time. General 
Knyphausen's horse started so as to throw the general." 

The Eev. Mr. Caldwell had been pastor of the Presbyterian Church in 
Elizabeth until tlie edifice was burned by the British, and his po.sitiou on 


the great questions at issue was a matter of public notoriety; he was 
also chaplain of a New Jersey regimeat. His wife was Hannah Ogden, 
the daughter of Judge John and Hannah Sayre Ogden of Newark.^ She 
was the mother of nine children. The circumstances of her murder are 
variously stated. Her husband had entreated her in the moi-ning to seek 
a place of greater safety than the little parsonage, but she thought that 
her presence might serve to protect the house from pillage. She was in 
a back room, holding an infant in her arms, attended by her maid, when a 
soldier jumped over the fence into the yard and fired his musket at her 
through the window, killing her instantly. Whether it was an act of 
personal malice or otherwise, it shocked the whole American people, and 
rendered the British name more execrable than ever. 

At " Liberty Hall " the wife and daughters of Governor Livingston spent 
the day in speechless terror, as the British troops passed in front of 
their residence, and they could hear the guns and see the flames rising 
from the church and dwellings at Connecticut Farms. Late in the even- 
ing some British officers rushed in to take shelter from the storm, and 
finally decided to remain until morning ; thus assured of safety, the family 
retired. About midnight they were startled by a sudden commotion' 
about the house, caused by the departure of the officers who were hurried 
oft' by unexpected news. Soon afterward a band of drunken or vagabond 
hangers-on to the army broke into the mansion, swearing they would 
" burn down the rebel house." The frightened ladies locked themselves 
into a chamber, but their whereabouts were quickly discovered and the 
door attacked. As it was likely to give way before their blows, one of 
the governor's daughters resolutely opened it ; a ruffian grasped her arm, 
and she with the quickness of thought seized his collar ; at that instant 
a flash of lightning illumined the scene, and the fellow staggered back 
in a scared manner, thinking it the ghost of the murdered Mi-s. Caldwell 
whom he saw before him ! An old neighbor was presently recognized 
among the men, to whom the ladies appealed, and thi'ough his interven- 
tion the house was cleared of the marauders. 

1 Judge .John Ogden was the brother of Colonel Josiah Ogden, who founded the Episcopal 
Church of Newark, and of Rev. Uzal Ogden, D. D., its first rector. He was the son of 
David Ogden, who was the son of the David Ogden who married Elizabeth Swaine, widow 
of Josiah Ward, the lady whose foot first rested upon Newark soil when the town was settled, 
himself the son of John Ogden, one of the principal founders of Elizabeth. The Ogdens were 
among the most wealthy and influential families of New Jersey, but were divided on the ques- 
tion of independence. Judge David Ogden of Newark, who had recently been commis- 
sioned chief justice of the province by tlie King, a cousin of Mrs. Caldwell's father, was in 
New York with his family, counseling with the enemy, and retired to Nova Scotia at the 
close of the war. 


The aovernor was at Trenton at the time of the invasion, ovenvhelmed 
with public duties of the most perplexing character; and, aware that 
Kuyphauseu had within a month offered large inducements for his 
capture, he had little expectation that his house would be spared. 
The enemy remained at Elizabethtown Point waiting for Clinton, who 
having left Lord Cornwallis in command of South Carolina, with instruc- 
tions to invade North Carolina as soon as circumstances would permit, was 
on his route to New York. Two days after his arrival he visited 
New Jersey, and expressed his disapproval of the movement of 
Knyphausen. The only objects sufficient to warrant such an expedition 
were the stores at Monistown and the capture of the American army. 
The prospect of success was not promising, and he resolved to withdraw 
the troops ; but he chose to mask his retreat by a feint, and to give 
it the air of a military manoeuvre. Washington, discovering that a 
bridge of boats to Staten Island was in readiness for the return of the 
Briti-sh army, suspected that a design upon West Point was in contem- 
plation, and immediately strengthened his forces in the Highlands, con- 
fiding the post at Short Hills to the command of Greene. Early on the 
morning of June 23d the British, five thousand strong, with ten or 
twenty field-pieces, swiftlj^ advanced towards Springfield. They 
reached Connecticut Farms about sunrise, from whence they diverged in 
two compact columns, one by a circuitous route to the North through 
Milburn, the other directly over the Eahway River. Major Henry Lee, 
with his dragoons, supported Ijy Colonel Aaron Ogden, took post at 
Little's Bridge on the Vauxhall road, while Colonel Dayton, aided by 
Colonel Angell, opposed the left column. There was a sharp contest 
at both points ; the right column was compelled to ford the river before 
it could drive Lee and Ogden from their position, although their force 
was small. At the lower bridge the left column was held in check for 
forty minutes. During the heat of the battle Eev. Mr. Caldwell galloped 
to the cliurch near by, and brought back an armful of psalm-books to 
supply the men with wadding for their firelocks, exclaiming, as he handed 
them round, " Now put Watts into them, boys ! " Greene's command was 
extended over the mountains, to guard the different passes, and he hastily 
prepared for action. The enemy, having gained the village, saw little 
hope of proceeding further, and while manoeuvring with their cannon 
plundered the houses and burned the town. The church and nineteen 
dwelling-houses were destroyed. Four habitations only were spared, and 
those were occupied by their wounded. Then they retreated with almost 
as much celerity as they had advanced ; the militia, maddened by the sight 
of their burning homes, pursued them with an incessant fire the whole 

VOL. II. 16 


distance to Elizabethtown Point. Tiiey immediately crossed to Staten 
Island, and by midnight theii- bridge of boats was removed. 

It was shortly apparent that Sir Henry Clinton had no present in- 
tention of navigating the Hudson. The fleet under Admiral Arbuthnot 
cast anchor in Gardiner's Bay. Why the British army, twice as large as 
its adversary, did not strike some grand blow puzzled many a brain. But 
Clinton had a scheme in view which he bfilieved would end the war. 
Benedict Arnold had been in his pay upwards of a year, and at specified 
rates furnished material intelligence. If Benedict Arnold succeeded in 
obtaining the command of West Point, the whole American army could 
be purchased from his hand. The only question at issue was that of 
price. Lord Germain was cognizant of the ignoble plot, and promised 
that all expenses would be cheerfully defrayed. He wrote to Clinton in 
September, 1779, that next to the destruction of Washington's army the 
gaining over influential officers would be the speediest means of subduing 
the rebellion. 

Meanwhile two important events occurred. Congress, regardless of 
the views of Washington, placed Gates on the 13th of June in command 
of the Southern department; and the French fleet, with Rochambeau 
and one division of his army, entered the harbor of Newport on the 10th 
of July. Washington took post at Tappan, opposite Dobb's Ferry. 

Clinton, while waiting for the development of Arnold's treachery, made 
a journey by land to Easthampton, the extreme eastern point of Long 
Island, ostensibly to confer with the Admiral as to the policy of an attack 
upon the French at Rhode Island, but in reality to enjoy a few weeks of 
sportive recreation. He was accompanied by his favorite aide-de-camp. 
Major Andre, and several officers of high rank, including Lord Percy ^ 

1 Lord Percy was Hugh, eldest son of Sir Hugh Sniithson, Baronet, who assumed the 
surname of Percy on his marriage to Lady Elizabeth Seymour, only child of the Duke of 
Somerset, and by act of Parliament was created Earl Perc)' and Duke of Northumberland 
October 22, 1766. Lord Percy, so well known in New York, became in 1786 second Duke 
of Northumberland. His brother, James Smithson, founded, through a bequest of .f 515,169, 
the Smithsonian Institute at Washington, for the " increase and diffusion of knowledge , 
among men" ; he took an honorary degi'ee at Oxford in 1786 (the same year that Hugh 
became a duke), and devoted his life to scholarship, often saying that his name would outlive 
those of his family who possessed inherited titles and honors only. The Smithsons were of 
England's proudest nobility, dating back to the eleventh century, holding large estates, and 
conspicuous in all the generations for intellectual strength. The titles and dignities of 
Knight and Baronet were conferred upon Sir Hugh Smithson in 1660. The first Duke of 
Northumberland was the fourth Baronet in the direct line. Lord Percy's son Hugh became 
third Duke of Northumberland in 1817 ; he was succeeded as fourth Duke by his brother 
Algernon, the late Viceroy of Ireland, in 1847. The present Duke of Northumberland is a 
Smithson, although not in the direct descent from Lord Percy, and his galaxy of armorial 
bearings, representing the distinguished alliances of his ancestry, number nearly nine hun- 


and Lord Cathcart. Sir William Erskine was in command of Eastern 
Long Island, with headquarters at Southampton, but Sir Henry and his 
suite were billeted upon Colonel Abraham Gardiner, whose mansion at 
Easthampton was the largest and finest in the region ; its garret had a 
trap-door, and was used to confine prisoners. The chief pastime of the 
party was deer-hunting.^ The son of their host, Dr. Nathaniel Gardi- 
ner, surgeon of a Xew Hampshire regiment, came home on a furlough 
during their stay, cutting his visit short, however, when he discovered the 
character of his father's guests. The family thought his presence tlieir 
own secret until the morning following his departure, when jMajor Andre 
expressed his regret at not having been able to make the acquaintance of 
the young surgeon, as, had he done so, duty would have obliged him to 
cause his arrest as a spj". A messenger appeared one rainy August 
morning with a letter from Arnold, and before noon Sir Henry was on 
his route to the city. Andr^, upon leaving, exchanged wineglasses with 
Colonel Gardiner, taking two from his camp-chest, and receiving two from 
the table in return. These mementos are still preserved by the family.^ 

America quivered with disappointment as the summer slipped by 
without military movements. Washington's feeble army was unprepared 
to act with the French immediately upon their arrival ; and the second 
division of Eochambeau's army were blockaded by the British at Brest, 
and unable to cross the Atlantic. The idle troops of the king amused 
themselves with forays into the country, and the patriots injured the 
enemy whenever they had an opportunity. Now and then daring 
exploits were planned and executed for the relief of prisoners, as iu the 
case of General Silliman and Judge Jones, the historian. The former 
was captured by a party of refugees at his house in Fairfield, May, 1779, 
and carried to New York. There being no officer in possession of the 
Americans whom the British would accept in exchange for Silliman, a 
bold and successful expedition into Long Island was projected in No- 
vember for the capture of Judge Jones, who was residing quietly at his 
country-seat, at Fort Neck, and he was taken to the home of Mrs. Silli- 
man, thence to Middletown. It was the 27th of April, 1780, before the 

diptl. among which are those of several younger branches of the Royal family of England, the 
sovereign houses of France, Castile, Leon, and .Scotland, and the ducal house of Normandy 
and Brittany — heraldic honors almost without a parallel. 

> See A'ol. I. 596. 

- David Gardiner, the grandson of Colonel Abraham Gardiner, was several years in public 
life ; he was killed by the explosion of a gun opposite Mount Vernon in 1844, while on a pleas- 
ure-trip by invitation of the President. Two cabinet ministers and three other distinguished 
gentlemen were instantly killed at the same time, and the six were buried from the Execu- 
tive Mansion. A few months afterward Julia, the beautiful daughter of David Gardiner, was 
married to John Tyler, President of the United States. 


exchange was finally effected, and both gentlemen restored to their families. 
A volume might be filled with the thrilling incidents, hair-breadth es- 
capes, and harrowing trials of tlie people witliin fifty miles of the metrop- 
olis during this jjeriod of inaction. The neutrals suffered more if possible 
than the violent partisans, being persecuted by both parties. Washington's 
forces were changing along the Hudson like a kaleidoscope. Baron Steuben 
had wrought wonders. Every man and every horse knew his place and 
his duty. Such was the perfection of detail in the regulations tliat the 
whole army, occupying an extent of several miles, could be put in motion 
and take up the line of march in less than an hour. The season was sickly, 
great dearth of food was frequent, the ranks were thin, and nearly every 
man had a grievance. But a hopeful spirit was maintained through 
the judicious policy of Washington, who, whatever his forebodings, never 
lost self-command. He was essentially aided by Greene, whose character 
and bearing created confidence and enthusiasm. Lord Stirling was an- 
other officer whose example was a perpetual source of strength and inspi- 
ration ; the troops were proud of his martial appearance, and boastfully 
compared his courtly dignity with the brusque mannerism of many for- 
eign generals, although the laugh occasionally went round at his expense 
on account of his supposed ambition of the title of lordship ; the story 
was told, how, at the execution of a soldier for desertion, the poor criminal 
called out, " Lord, have mercy on me ! " and Stirling responded with 
warmth, " I won't, you rascal ! I won't have mercy on you." The 
elegant dragoons of Colonel Henry Lee were the admiration of the army ; 
not England herself could exhibit a better-disciplined, more stylishly 
equipped, or finer-looking body than these gallant Virginians. And the 
lively concern evinced by the French affected the rank and file of the 
American army like a charm. 

Etiger expectation, however, succeeded suddenly to deep despondency. 
News came from South Carolina early in September that Gates had been 
totally defeated on the 19th of August by Lord Cornwallis in a general 
action near Camden, with the loss of forty-eight American officers, and 
that the brave Baron De Kalb had been killed while leading the Mary- 
land and Delaware troops into battle. This mortifying disaster opened 
the eyes of Congress at last to the fact that a man could be a skillful 
intriguer and yet no soldier. In the midst of the general sorrow the 
army paid the final tribute of respect to the amiable and popular General 
Enoch Poor, who had died of fever. On the 17th Washington, accom- 
panied by Lafayette and Hamilton, left headquarters for Hartford, to 
meet and confer with Eochambeau and his generals, who were to ride to 
that point from Rhode Island. Arnold proceeded in liis barge to meet 


Washington at King's Ferry, crossing the Hudson in full \-ie\v of the 
Vulture, anchored below. He was in possession of a letter concerning the 
property opposite West Point which had been confiscated to the State of 
New York ; and he urged in vain for permission to receive an agent from 
Colonel Beverley Eobinson, its former owner, on the subject. Hamilton 
said it was strange that Eobinson should attempt to confer with a 
military otficer upon a question belonging to the civil authority alone ! 
Lafayette in a tone of pleasantry asked Arnold to ascertain as soon as 
possible — since he was in correspondence with the enemy — what had 
become of the French squadron so anxiously expected. Had Washing- 
ton consented to Arnold's appeal, the conference with Andre would have 
been conducted under a flag of truce, seemingly authorized by the com- 

No event in modern history has been more discussed than the treason of 
Benedict Arnold. The character of the man who could deliberately under- 
take to destroy the life of a nation at a stipulated price is a curious study. 
He seems to have possessed exceptional will-power, unlimited audacity, 
tolerable acquirements, an excitable imagination, a cold heart, inordinate 
selfishness, singularly captivating manners, great personal magnetism, an 
irritable temper, and a cruel disposition. He excelled in a certain order 
of military ability, but lacked all the moral qualities which go to make 
the hero. His patriotism was a splendid piece of deception from first to 
last. He plunged into the Revolution as he would have dashed into a 
jungle for game, with an eye to the rewards. He bad no sense of duty 
or military honor. He was capable of taking the most solemn oath with 
the full intention of perjury in his soul. He could lead brave men up to 
the cannon's mouth with an irresistible fascination, and then coolly turn 
round and sell them bodily, with all they held dear on earth, to the enemy. 
The plea that he was driven to the perpetration of an unpardonable crime 
by a series of acts of injustice has no basis in point of fact. He was 
angered by his failure to extort money from Congi-ess which he claimed 
as his due, and became nearly furious when charged by the civil author- 
ities of Philadelphia with resorting to improper means to obtain money. 
But under the assumption of injured innocence he was striving to hide 
an already maturing criminal scheme of overwhelming magnitude. Had 
he ever been a man of honor, worthy of high trusts, no wrongs could have 
driven him into forgetfulness of the supreme sanctity of obligations. A 
glimmer of the blackness of his nature was discernible in all stages of his 
career, and now he was to make his final plunge into everlasting infam\. 

The picture of Arnold hastening to bring about the comtemplated 
meeting with Andre while Washington was in Hartford is one of the 


most dark aiul repulsive of the Eevolution. The preliminaries were all 
arranged ; the interview was to close the bargain. Arnold had intimated 
in a letter to Clinton, August 30, that " speculation might be made with 
ready money." At midnight of the 21st, Arnold sat upon his horse among 
the fir-trees at the foot of a shadowy hill on the west side of the Hudson, 
in waiting attitude. A boat with muffled oars approached cautiously 
from the Vulture, and Andre presently stepped forth, wrapped in a blue 
cloak. Arnold received him politely, and the two conversed until day- 
break. Their business not being completed, they rode through Haverstraw 
village to the house of Joshua Hett Smith, whose family were absent. 
Here they concluded arrangements. Arnold was to distribute the 
^^ ' ' garrison at West Point in such a manner as to destroy its effi- 
ciency. Clinton was to bring his army to the siege in person, and it was 
decided in what manner to surprise the reinforcement which Washington 
would doubtless himself conduct. Arnold returned in his barge ; while 
Andre, with sketches of the routes and passes which were to be left un- 
guarded, together with a plan of the fortifications of West Point, and the 
number of the garrison, cannon, and stores, all in the handwriting of Arnold, 
crossed the Hudson at King's Ferry in the night, conducted by Smith, 
and commenced his journey to New York by land. The Vulture had been 
obliged to shift her anchorage during the day through the sharp fire of a 
party of Americans ; thus Smith refused to risk the attempt to row Andre 
back to the sloop of war, but accompanied him on horseback as far as 
Pine's Bridge over the Croton Eiver. About an hour before noon on the 
23d, when just above Tarrytown, Andr^ was stopped by three men, and 
the fatal papers were discovered in his stockings ; despite his magnani- 
mous bids for release, he was taken to North Castle and delivered to the 
commandant of that post, who was induced by him to dispatch an ex- 
press to Arnold with intelligence of his capture. 

Washington, returning from Hartford, where nothing had been settled 
in tlie way of future operations for lack of superiority at sea, changed his 
route to spend the night in Fishkill. The next morning he was in the 
saddle earl}', and sent a messenger in advance to inform Mrs. Arnold 
that he should do himself the pleasure of breakfasting with her. When 
within a mile of " Beverley," he turned aside to inspect some redoubts, 
two of the aids galloping forward to the house with a message from him 
that the meal should not be delayed. 

Arnold and his family accordingly gathered at the breakfast-table. 
The traitor was not in a happy mood. Washington's presence sooner 
than anticipated was inopportune, to say the least. This was the very 
day for the ships of Clinton, ready and waiting for Andre, to ascend the 

AAEOy BURR. 247 

river. Suddenly a horseman rode into the door-yard, and Arnokl received 
the letter with information of Andre's capture, and that the pajiers 
found upon his person had been forwarded to Washington on tlie road 
from Hartford. Thus the mine which Arnold had prepared for others 
was about to explode under his own feet. With superlative self-control 
he remarked that he had been summoned to West Point, beckoned his 
wife from the table for a word in pri\'ate, ordered the messenger to 
keep silence, on pain of death, and leaping upon the fellow's horse 
dashed down the slope to his barge, and escaped. The communication 
had missed Washington because of his change of route, but he received 
it on his return from West Point later in the morning. The revelation 
was appalling. Hamilton was sent upon a fleet horse to order the guns 
at Verplanck's Point turned upon Arnold's barge ; but he had already 
passed in safety, and was on board the Vulhcre. The extent of the 
treason being unknown, an alarm was sounded in every division of the 
army ; at three o'clock next morning Greene held the entire force at Tap- 
pan in waiting to march at a moment's warning. An unspeakable 
disgust took possession of the American soul as the facts came to light ; 
and the man who had so nearly sold for a paltry sum of money all that 
had been won through labor and hardship, through blood and anguish, 
through a spirit of heroism and love of country superior to bribery and 
corruption, was held in universal detestation. 

Mrs. Arnold was believed innocent of any knowledge of her husband's 
crime up to the moment of his flight, and treated in her apparently ago- 
nizing distress with the utmost consideration by Washington and his 
officers. Within a few days she was furnished with a passport and an 
escort of horse, and started for her father's house in Philadelphia. She 
stopped on her way in Paramiis, at the home of the charming Mrs. Pre- 
vost, afterwards Mrs. Aaron Burr, where Colonel Burr was at the time a 
guest, and is said by him to have given a lively narration of the man- 
ner in which she deceived Washington, Hamilton, and others, and per- 
sonated the outraged and frantic woman. Colonel Burr's relations with 
the Sliippen family had been of the most intimate character from child- 
hood, and he kept Mrs. Arnold's secret untU she was past being harmed 
by the telling of it. 

]\Iajor Andr^ wrote to Washington frankly stating that he was the 
adjutant-general of the British army, but no spy. He said he had been 
drawn into a snare, not intending to enter the American lines. But a 
secret midnight mission in a borrowed garb and under an assumed name, 
even if he did not intend to subject himself to danger, was not according 
to the chivalry of modern warfare. He was ordered to " Beverley," and 


thence conducted by Colonel Tallmadge to Tappan, where on the 29th he 

was tried before a board of officers consisting of Greene, Lord Stirling, 

St. Clair, Lafayette, Steuben, Howe, Parsons, James Clinton,Glover, 

SeDt 29 

' Knox, Stark, Hand, Huntington, and John Lawrence — the judge 
advocate general — all men of the highest character. Upon his own confes- 
sion, without the examination of a witness, and after showing him every 
indulgence, this tribunal reported that he was in effect a spy, and accord- 
incr to the usaiies of war in all countries should suffer death. On the 
30th, Washington approved the sentence and ordered it to be carried into 
effect. Sir Henry Clinton solicited Andre's release on the ground of his 
having been protected by " a ilag of truce and passports," but Washington 
inclosed the report of the board of inquiry, saying, that " Major Andr^ was 
employed in the execution of measures very foreign to ilags of truce, and 
such as they were never meant to authorize." Clinton requested a con- 
ference, and sent General Eobertson and two civilians to Dobb's Ferry, 
who were met by General Greene and staff, but Eobertson only was 
allowed to land. He had nothing material to urge except that Andre 
was under the sanction of a flag — which was untrue, Andre having come 
on shore in the night on business totally incompatible with the nature of 
of a flag — and spoke of freeing Andre by an exchange. Greene replied 
that Arnold, then, must be given up. Eobertson absurdly gave Greene an 
open letter from Arnold, filled with insolent threats of retaliation should 
Andre suffer death ; this was conveyed to Washington, but ignored with 
silent contempt. As for Andre, his fate excited universal commiseration. 
His virtues and his graces, his youth, his accomplishments, his high posi- 
tion, and his engaging manners rendered him an object of romantic in- 
terest. Even Washington was greatly moved. And yet Andre's errand 
had been unmistakably to buy with gold what British steel coidd not con- 
quer ; and concealed upon his person had been found the means through 
which the enormous crime was speedily to have been consummated. His 
execution took place on tlie 2d of October ; and the general verdict 
of mankind has been that no man ever suffered death with more 
justice. The lirmness and delicacy with which he was treated won tlie 
respect of all nations. Thousands of pens have since paid tributes to his 
memory. But the civilized mind should have a care about confounding 
standards of character and conduct. Andre's mission was neither heroic 
nor reputable. Honors belong to other enterprises and deeds. 

Arnold's career henceforward was a living death. He took up arms 
against his countrymen, but was despised and neglected by all true Eng- 
lishmen. His retribution elicited no pity; and he transmitted to his 
children a name of hateful celebritv. 


Sir Henry Clinton shared in the obloquy attending the treasonable 
conspiracy. He wrote in anguish of spirit to Lord Germain : " Thus ended 
this proposed plan, from which I had conceived such great hopes and 
imagined such vast consequences." Germain himself lost public favor 
through the notoriety of the afiair, and the Opposition were materially 
strengthened. From the day the news of Arnold's treason reached Par- 
liament the war increased in unpopularity throughout England. 

New York, the key to the continent, which had hitherto so success- 
fully resisted the shock of armies, and had now narrowly escaped the 
consequences of insidious operations by an internal foe in league with a 
powerful foreign enemy, was to taste still further the bitter fruits of 
wai>. The work of blood recommenced on a gigantic scale within her 
northern, central, and western borders. What her people suffered the 
world can never know. The Tories, who had no future except revenge, 
and the Indians, who were fighting for their hunting-grounds, marched 
•without baggage by secret paths, never knowing fatigue or wanting for 
ammunition. Canada and the British forts proved unfailing arsenals, 
and this terrible enemy inflicted calamities from the recital of which 
humanity recoils ; they could at any moment retreat into the illimitable 
forests, every foot of which was familiar ground. A sudden irruption 
from the north, and the two forts, Anne and George, were captured. At 
the same time Sir John Johnson, with Brandt and a half-savage force, 
laid waste the fertile valley of the Mohawk. He was defeated by Gen- 
eral Van Rensselaer just as Governor Clinton arrived on the scene at the 
head of the New York militia. General James Clinton was soon ap- 
pointed to the command of the Northern department. For the ne.xt two 
years the records of New York were stained with fire and blood ; whole 
families and villages were sometimes swept away in a night. Again and 
again were the enemy driven from the soil by the resolute militia ; but 
discipline and skill were powerless to protect the inhabitants. 

Before the year closed Greene, in whom Washington reposed implicit 
confidence, succeeded Gates in command at the South, where Cornwallis 
had established a reign of terror. About the same time Major Tallmadge, 
with eighty dismounted dragoons, crossed the Sound from Fairfield, Con- 
necticut, in the night, marched across Long Island to Fort St. 

' '^ ' . ° . Nov. 22. 

George, at Coram, surprised and captured the garrison, number- 
ing fifty-four men, demolished the fortress, burned two armed vessels, 
with a large quantity of hay and stores, and returned to Fairfield with- 
out the loss of a man. Early in December log huts once more rose 
all through the mountains around New York City, except on the side 
towards the sea; the Pennsylvania troops were cantoned near Morris- 


towu ; the New Jersey line about Pompton ; the New England divisions 
at Tappan, in the Highlands, and near the Connecticut shore; and the 
New-Yorkers at the points of greatest danger, the exposed country near 
Albany, Saratoga, and on the Mohawk. 

No sooner was shelter provided for the army than difficulties culmi- 
nated. Men shivering in the woods back of West Point were obliged to 
bring fuel on their backs from a place a mile distant, while on half-allow- 
ance of bread and entirely without rum ; and they had not been paid for 
twelve or fourteen mouths. Thatcher wrote, December 10 : " For three 
days I have not been able to procure food enough to appease my 
appetite ; we are threatened with starvation." Lafayette said : " No 
European army would suffer the tenth part of what the American troops 
suffer. It takes citizens to support hunger, nakedness, toil, and the total 
want of pay." Glover appealed to Massachusetts, December 11: "It is 
now four days since your line of the army has eaten one mouthful of 
bread. We have no money, nor will anybody trust us." The same 
startling cry arose from all quarters. Congress had tried every expedient ; 
but Congress had no powers adequate to the purposes of war. Washing- 
ton knew this, and urged for a stronger systenr of government. Hamil- 
ton, uncontrolled by inherited attachments for any one State, drinking 
from the fountain of Washington's ideas, and possessing creative powers, 
the habit of severe reflection, and the quick impulses as well as the arro- 
gance of youth, took the field as the maker of a national constitution, 
and wrote to Duane of New York, in Congress, vigorously asserting the 
1781. necessity of a confederation. On the first day of January the 
Jan. 1. complication of distresses resulted in open mutiny among the sol- 
diers at Morristown. A part of the Pennsylvania line, under the lead of 
non-commissioned officers, marched with six field-pieces to Princeton, 
threatening to proceed to Philadelphia and exact redress from Congress. 
Wayne endeavored to pacify them, and Eeed, president of Pennsylvania, 
repaired to the spot, taking cognizance of their grievances. Sir Henry 
Clinton was quick to dispatch emissaries to the mutineers, with tempting 
offers, promising to pay all arrears due them from Congress in cash, with- 
out exacting military service in return, if they would come to him ; but, 
resenting the imputation of being Arnolds, they delivered up his messen- 
gers to be tried and hanged as spies. Other troops were inclined to 
mutiny, after the example of the Pennsylvanians, but Washington inter- 
posed ; a detachment of Massachusetts men marched over mountain . 
roads through deep snows, and suppressed the incipient insurrection. 

Doubts, fears, and divided opinions in Congress delayed every pro- 
posed change in the manner of transacting national business. Com- 


mittees, however, were found to be ii-respansible bodies, and a partial 
remedy for existing evils was supplied before spring by the creation of 
departments. The important office of Secretary of Foreign Affairs fell to 
the gifted Kobert E. Livingston, Chancellor of New York, who executed 
its novel duties with dignity and ability until the close of the war. 
Kobert Morris was unanimously elected Superintendent of Finance; and 
one of his first acts was to appoint Gouverneur Morris, of New York, 
Assistant Financier, who served in that capacity three years and a half. 
Meanwhile John Laurens, the hero of many a deed of valor, was sent 
on a special mission to negotiate a loan from France. His father, Henry 
Laurens, was a prisoner in the Tower of London, the vessel on which he 
sailed the preceLliug August, for the purpose of maturing a commercial 
treaty with Holland, having been taken by the British ; his diplomatic 
and official papers were thrown overboard, but rescued from the M'ater ; 
and as they re\'ealed to Great Britain a private correspondence in progress 
between Holland and tlie United States, the result of their capture was 
a declaration of war against Holland, the ally of a century. 

A correspondence was maintained between David Hartley and Dr. 
Franklin during the whole struggle. Both heartily desired peace. Not 
only their aims, but their motives, reasonings, and generous sentiments 
harmonized, and both fully realized that they were dealing with events 
around which clustered the profoundest emotions and iutensest passions 
of human nature. Hartley acted as a mediator, and with such rare dis- 
cretion as to exert a marked influence upon the issue of the conflict. 
" I have been endeavoring to feel pulses for some months, but all is 
dumb show," he \vi-ote to Franklin in April, 1779. And yet he was 
successful during the same month in obtaining consent from Lord North 
to make a mediat(3rial proposition, as a private person, which might serve 
as a basis for future negotiations. Lord North thought Franklin would 
not express his mind freely under such circumstances ; but Hartley said 
" it was possible for Dr. Franklin to consider him (Hartley) a depot of 
any communications which might tend from time to time to facilitate 
the terms of peace." He feared no misapprehension. His proposal was 
a truce. Franklin wrote that if the truce was practicable and the peace 
not, he should favor it, provided the French approved ; but only on mo- 
tives of humanity — to obviate the evils men inflict on men in time of 
war — being persuaded that America was disposed " to continue the war 
till England should be reduced to that perfect impotence of mischief 
which alone could prevail witli her to let other nations enjoy " Peace, Lib- 
erty, and Safety." Hartley replied : " If the flames of war can be but 
once extinguished, does not the Atlantic Ocean contain cold water enough 


to prevent their bursting out again ? " He argued that confidence must 
exist somewhere before the nation coukl be extricated from the evils 
attendant upon its national disputes, and warmly assured Franklin that 
"no fallacious offers of insincerity, nor any pretext for covering secret 
designs or for obtaining unfair advantage, should ever pass through his 

By no means less than these hidden workings of a peace-making spirit, 
potent influences of a contrary character tended to the same end. Elated 
with the conquering progress of Cornwallis in the Carolinas, the Ministry 
encouraged harsh punishments, and commended the transformation of 
military legions into housebreakers and assassins. The youth and man- 
hood of the South grew every day more defiant under the scourge. Bands 
of well-mounted horsemen confounded Cornwallis, springing up silently 
in the ver}' districts he had thought subdued. January was marked by 

the famous victory of Morgan at the Cowpens. February brought 
^' ■ the disagreeable conviction to the mind of Cornwallis that he was 
being outgeneralled in some inexplicable manner. March was signalized 
by the desperate battle at Guilford Court House, which, without defeat- 
ing, weakened Cornwallis, and proved the singular capacity of Greene 
for the execution of great plans. April found Cornwallis moving into 
Virginia, and Greene carrying out the dariag policy of marching to South 
Carolina and Georgia. May brought tidings to Cornwallis of the loss of 
several Southern forts through a series of vigorous operations under 
Henry Lee's invincible dragoons, in conjunction with Marion, Sumter, 
and Pickens ; and, sick at heart, he coidd not fail to see that his high- 
handed work of the last year was being rapidly undone. 
. New York was in dismay. Numbers of her brave sons were serving 
the king at the South, fighting his battles, whether just or unjust. The 
garrison of Ninety-Six, composed of New-Yorkers and New-Jerseymen, 
was commanded by John Harris Cruger, whose beautiful wife, the 
daughter of Oliver De Lancey,_ lived in the fort and fared as the soldiers 
did. The army of Greene ominously increased ; the militia flocked in, 
eager to drive the hated foe from the land. But while New York was 
seriously affected by exciting events elsewhere, her chief fears were for 
her own fair island. Threatening storms hung in every part of the 

horizon. Eumors of a French fleet on the ocean under Count De 

May 22. 

Grasse, and an interview between "Washington and Eochambeau 
at Wethersfield, Connecticut, intensified the general belief that the city 
was to be attacked. Clinton hastened to erect forts and batteries. He 
had forwarded detachments to co-operate with Cornwallis in Virginia, but, 
deceived by letters written to be intercepted, he recalled them for the 


defense of New York. Cornwallis remonstrated against their departure, 
having already felt the stings of Steuben, Lafayette, and Wayne — sent 
by Washington to the State which had generously parted with her own 
gallant soldiery for the defense of other States beyond — and a significant 
letter from Lord Germain, applauding Cornwallis, and expressing the 
king's faith in the Virginia campaign, induced Clinton to direct the 
troops to remain after they had actually embarked. But he sent no more 
to Virginia. Early in July Washington suddenly encamped at 
Dobb's Ferry. The next morning a portion of liis army appeared 
for a short season on the heights above Kingsbridge. On the 6th, the 
French army reached Dobb's Feny from Newport. 

For seven long summer weeks New York tossed in a tempest of 
perpetual apprehension. A series of feints kept the British on the alert. 
Five thousand American and French troops paraded, July 22, on the 
heights north of Harlem River, their arms flashing in the morning sun- 
shine, the French in white broadcloth uniforms trimmed with gi-een, and 
the flags of both nations unfolded to the breeze. Scoimng-parties cleared 
the roads and menaced the outer posts of the enemy, while Washington 
and Eochambeau, attended by numerous officers, a corps of engineers, 
and an escort of dragoons, deliberately reconnoitered the works on the 
northern part of Manhattan Island, from the main, as far as the Sound, 
making notes and diagrams. The two commanders dined on the 23d at 
the Van Cortlandt Mansion,^ and returned in the night to Dobb's Ferry, 
withdrawing their forces from the region of Harlem Eiver, having effected 
the object of the expedition. Clinton felt assured that Washington con- 
templated a blow at Staten Island, the possession of which in connection 
with a strong French naval force would greatly facilitate the operations 
of a siege ; he therefore employed men night and day upon fortifications 
for its defense. On the 15th of August, Washington inspected 
the whole length of Manhattan from the heights on the Jersey 
shore of the Hudson, accompanied by Eochambeau, the Marquis de 
Chastellux, and a troop of generals and distinguished gentlemen. He 
rode one of the fine blood horses presented him by the State of Virginia, 
a beautiful animal which he had himself trained to leap the highest 
barriers ; and the skill with which he overcame the seemingly impassable 
physical peculiarities of the rough surface of the Palisades was the won- 
der and admiration of the French noblemen. " He usually," writes 
Chastellux, " rode very fast, without rising in his stirrup, bearing on the 
bridle, or suffering his horse to run as if wild." 

Viewing the half-ruined city of New York in the distance, Washington 

' For sketch of Van Cortlandt Mansion at Kingsbridge (built in 1748), see Vol. I. 69". 



decided as well aud wisely the course which would best contribute to her 
future greatness, as he could have done had he I'ully foreseen the glories 
of the coming century. He would conquer her captors, but in quite 
another latitude. He ordered extensive encampments marked out, ovens 
erected for baking bread, forage and boats collected in the recesses along 
the wall of rocks, and fictitious communications circidated to deceive and 
bewilder his own army as well as Sir Henry Clinton. " Our situation," 
writes Thatcher, "reminds me of some theatrical exhibition, where the 
interest and expectations of the spectators are continually increasing, aud 
where curiosity is wrought to the highest pitch." 

The signal ability with which Washington aftbrded effectual relief to 
both New York and Virginia might well excite the applause of mankind. 
Cornwallis had during the first week in August transferred his whole 
force to Yorktown, a small village upon an elevation some ninety feet 
above tide-water, with a level plain of several hundred acres on one side 
and a bay upon the other where the ships of the line miglit ride in safety. 

Lafayette, eight miles dis- 
tant, with a meager force, 
wrote to Vergennes : " In 
pursuance of the immense 
plan of his coui"t, Lord Corn- 
wallis left the two Carolinas 
exposed, and General Greene 
has largely profited by it. 
He now is at York, a \'ery 
advantageous place for one 
who has the maritime su- 
periority. If by any chance 
that superiority should be- 
come ours, our little army 
win participate in successes 
which will compensate it 
for a long and fatiguing 
campaign." At the instance 
of Washingtou, De Grasse 
with twenty-eight ships of 
Lafayeiie. the line, and nearly four 

thousand land troops from the West Indies, entered the Chesapeake and 
blocked up the York Eiver. The situation of CornwaUis became at once 
perilous, and Clinton, with a force variously estimated — not less than 
eighteen thousand — could send him no aid, because of the confidently 

" Viewing the hixif-vumed city of New Yor-k in the distanae, XVashingion decided as well and 
wisely the course which would best contT^ibuie to her future greatness, as he could have 
done had he fully foreseen the glories of the coming century " <^ages 253. 254. 


anticipated siege of New York. While De Grasse was casting anchor 
Washington broke up his encampment at Dobb's Ferry, and, dexter- 
ously throwing out detachments to worry New York and Staten 
Island, crossed the Hudson with the allied armies, and marched ^^^' ■'^^ 
by two routes rapidly through New Jersey. 

It was a masterly manoeuvre. The delight of the French was uu- 
bounded. The officers under Eochambeau were chiefly young men of 
rank to whom the service in America was romance. To overcome the 
reluctance which Northerners might feel as to marching under the burn- 
ing skies of Vii-ginia in the hottest season of the year, Washington had 
promised each man a half-month's pay in hard money, having borrowed 
of Eochambeau twenty thousand dollars in coin, which Eobert Morris 
was to repay by the 1st of October. The 30th was a high day in 
Philadelphia. About noon Wa.shiugton and his retinue, including "^ 
the French generals, entered the city and rode to the residence of Eobert 
Morris, amid the wildest cheers of an enthusiastic multitude upon the 
streets. In the evening Philadelphia was illuminated. The ne.xt day John 
Laurens came by way of Boston from his mission to France. He brought 
two and a half millions of livres in cash, being part of a subsidy of six 
millions of livres granted by the French kini;. On the 2d of 

' Sept. 2. 

September llie American troops passed through Philadelphia, the 
column extending two miles. On the 3d the French troops, dressed with 
scrupulous elegance as if for a holiday paraile, followed in their footsteps, 
marching " in single file before the Congress, and Chevalier de la Luzerne, 
Minister from the Court of France." News of the presence of De 
Grasse in the Chesapeake, and that three thousand men had landed and 
joined the forces of Lafayette, reached Philadelphia the same day, creat- 
ing a whirlwind of joyous excitement. 

The chagrin of Sir Henry Clinton was beyond expression. Washing- 
ton's army had crossed the Delaware before the truth broke on his mind. 
He was accused of stupidity, ignorance, irresolution, indecision, and 
cowardice, in thus ha\'ing allowed an enemy to walk away without 
molestation. No one ventured to criticise his condiict with greater free- 
dom than Arnold, the traitor, who, when sent upon an expedition to 
Virginia in January, had been attended by two officers, authorized jointly 
to supersede him and put him in arrest " if they suspected him of any 
sinister intent." He was pacified with the command ot an idle and dis- 
gi'aceful expedition to New London which had liitle bearing upon the grave 
({uestion at issue. Its object was to plunder and destroy. Arnold was 
the man above all others capable of insulting his native State by the wan- 
ton desolation of a thriving town only fourteen miles from the place of his 


birth. With a considerable fleet, and a force of two thousand infantry 
and three hundred dragoons, cliiefly Tories and Hessians, lie sailed from 

New York, and entered New London harbor on. the 6th. Forts 
^^ ' Griswold and Trumbull were stormed, taken, and dismantled. Colo- 
nel Ledyard, who gallantly defended the former for some forty minutes, 
was thrust through with his own sword after he had surrendered it to the 
British officer in command. The garrison received no quarter ; seventy- 
three men were slain in cold blood, and thirty or more severely wounded. 
The town was pillaged and burnt, and its inhabitants ruined. Arnold 
returned to New York from this inglorious achievement enriched with 
the spoils. It was his final appearance on the stage of American aflfaii-s. 
The very day that New London was in flames, Washington, from the 
Head of Elk, was writing to De Grasse relative to the prospective capture 

of Cornwallis. Two days later, while Baltimore was celebrating 

Sept. 8. . 

the arrival of Washington in that city, Greene was fighting the 
bloody battle of Eutaw Springs, which prostrated the British power in 
South Carolina. On the 9th, Washington rode from Baltimore to Mount 
Vernon, his beautiful home on the Potomac, which he had not seen in 
six years. He remained there two days dispensing hospitalities to the 

illustrious generals of two nations with courtly grace. On the 
"^ ' ' 14th he arrived at Williamsburg, twelve miles from Yorktown, 
where he was welcomed by Lafayette. Energetic preparations were 
made without delay, and the combined armies marched on the 28th from 
Williamsburg, encamping in the evening within two miles of Yorktown. 
By the first of October the line of besiegers formed a semicircle, each 
end resting on the river ; thus the investment of Yorktown by land was 

comiilete. On the dark and tempestuous niaht of the iitli 

Oct. 5. , 1-1 

trenches were opened with great secrecy six hundred yards 
from the works of Cornwallis — the Americans working on the right, the 
French on the left — the whole force commanded l^y General Lincoln, 
whose most efficient aide-de-camp was Matthew Clarkson of New York. 
Within three days the parallel nearly two miles long was completed, 
under a perpetual and heavy fire of shot and shells from the enemy ; not 
until the 9th, in the evening, were the American batteries in readiness to 
reply, after which the cannonading upon both sides was incessant. On 
the 11th the second parallel was commenced, three hundred yards only 
from the British works. Two advanced redoubts in the way of its prog- 
ress were stormed on the 14th ; Hamilton, who had retired from 

Oct. 14 

the private service of Washington and was now in command of a 
New York battalion, conducted the assault upon one of these, and Lafay- 
ette that upon the other. Both were successful. Nicholas Fish, major 


of a regiment under Hamilton, led the advancing party with marvelous 
celerity. He excelled as a disciplinarian, and every movement was exe- 
cuted with fidelity and precision. Olney, of Providence, guided the first 
platoon of Gimat's battalion over the abatis. Hamilton placed one foot 
upon the shoulder of a soldier, who knelt for the purpose, and leaped upon 
the parapet. John Laurens, leading one of the columns, was among 
the foremost to enter the redoubt, making prisoner of its commanding 
ofiicer. The killed and wounded of the British did not exceed eight, as 
the victors recoiled from imitating the barliarous precedents of the enemy. 
Not a man was killed or injured after he ceased to resist. Hamilton 
won conspicu<jus honor for his talents, gallantry, and humanity. The 
French carried the other redoubt at the same moment ; but, mo\iDg liy 
rule and less swiftly, lost more men than did the Americans in their 
headlong attack. 

The next day Cornwallis wrote to Clinton, '^ My situation now becomes 
very critical." By the 16th he was in despair, and made a bold and 
desperate effort to escape with his army, which was frustrated by a storm 
of wind and rain. At ten o'clock on the morning of the 17th, 
just four years after the memorable surrender of Bm-goyne at 
Saratoga, Cornwallis sent a flag to Washington proposing to capitulate. 
The terms settled by the commissioners appointed for the purpose were 
the same as those which had been imposed upon Lincoln at Charleston, 
and in accordance with arrangements in the allied camp, Lincoln received 
the submission of the army of Cornwallis precisely in the manner in 
which his own had been received on the suiTender of Charleston. The 
final ceremonies of the famous event occurred October 19. 

The effect was dazzling. The joyful tidings traveled with the speed 
of a typhoon. The suddenness of the transaction bewildered human 
imagination. The public mind hesitated about accepting as truth a story 
bearing such singular resemblance to fiction. Cornwallis was known as 
one of the most determined enemies of America, as well as a general of 
surpassing abilities, and it seemed incredil:)le that he should have been 
captured, with an entire army numbering over seven thousand trained 
soldiers. The successive steps, beginning with the miKtaiy manoeuvres 
about New York City to prevent Clinton from sending aid to Cornwallis, 
and extending to the complete investment of Yorktown, were taken with 
such rapidity and souml judgment, and all the combinations were so 
skillfully arranged, that Washington was enveloped in a blaze of glory. 

Intelligence of the capture of Lord Cornwallis thrilled France Novem- 
ber 19. It reached London on Sundav, the 25th, Lord Germain 

. Nov 25. 

was the first to receive and read the dispatch ; Lord Walsmgham, 

VOL. II. 17 


Under Secretary of State, being present, the two entered a hackney-coach 
to save time, and drove to the house of Lord Stormont — the Cabinet 
Minister who " would hold no intercourse with rebels unless they came 
to implore his Majesty's mercy"; he joined them in the coach, and 
the three proceeded rapidly to the residence of Lord North. The prime 
minister received the news, said Germain, "as he would have taken a 
ball in the breast." He threw his arms apart. He paced wildly up and 
down the room in the greatest agitation, exclaiming, " It is all over I It 
is all over ! " 

Parliament assembled on Tuesday. The speech of the king was con- 
fused, but he still insisted on prosecuting the war. In the debates 
that followed Fox, Burke, Sheridan, the youthful William Pitt, 
and others assailed the Ministry and the war, as no ministry had ever 
before or has ever since been assailed. The city of London entreated 
the king to end hostilities ; and public meetings in every part of the 
kingdom expressed the same wish. Resolutions offered for the dis- 
continuance of the war were lost in the House by a small majority. 
Lord Germain was compelled, however, to retire from the Cabinet. 
The rigor with which Laurens was treated in the Tower was condemned 
in sharp language by the Opposition. Finally, news came that the son 
of Laurens was the custodian of Cornwallis in America, and that his 
treatment of the humiliated lord was exactly the reverse of what his 
father experienced, locked in the very prison of which Cornwallis was 
governor. From that hour severities were transfoi-med into civilities ; 
and on the last day of December, with health greatly impaired, the ex- 
President of the American Congress was taken from the Tower in a sedan 
chair, and was henceforth a free man. 

The new year dawned iipon a stubborn monarch. George III. 
threatened to relinquish his crown rather than change his Ameri- 
can policy. His party was falling off, nevertheless. February 
was a memorable month in Parliament. On the 28th, Conway's motion 
against any further attempt to reduce the colonies was carried, 
at one o'clock in the morning, by a majority of nineteen. Burke 
wrote to Franklin that it was the declaration of two hundred and thirty- 
four members, and the opinion, he believed, of the whole house. "No 
sooner was the result known," says Wraxall, " than the acclamations 
pierced the roof, and might have been heard in Westminster HaU." 

The popular cry at once turned against Lord North. He was accused 
of having shown himself void of every principle of honor and honesty. 
Fox said persons were already in Europe fully empowered to treat for a 
peace between Great Britain and America, but no progress could be made. 


because the Minister was " treacherous, vacillating and incapable." 
North denied the statement that he was averse to peace, and referred to 
the informal negotiations he had countenanced between Hartley and 
Franklin. He was met with the scornful response that during the period 
of those negotiations he had destroyed the confidence of Franklin by 
tampering with France in an underhanded manner, asking her to enter 
into a separate treaty with England. On the 8th of March, Lord Caven- 
dish called attention to the mismanagement which had nearly over- 
turned the splendid Empire of Britain, and all the great orators were 
brought to their feet. On the 18th Sir John Eous followed up the 
attack of Lord Cavendish by moving to withdraw the confidence of Par- 
liament from ministers. Lord North was individually taunted as the 
author of the American war, which had cost the nation one hundred 
millions, with the loss of thirteen ancient colonies. He defended himself 
and his colleagues with warmth. But the weakness of the government 
was no longer to be concealed. Lord North had through the whole twelve 
years of his supremacy been too ready to surrender his judgment to that 
of the king, who with a narrower understanding had a stronger will. 
Walpole called liim the " ostensible minister " ; the real minister was the 
king. On the 20th the house was crowded to its utmost capacity. 

^ . March 20. 

The Earl of SuiTey rose to offer a parallel motion to that of Sir 
John Eous. Lord North rose at the same moment. The two parties 
present shouted wildly the names of their respective champions.. The 
speaker hesitated ; when Lord North, taking the floor on a question of 
order, said he would save the trouble of submitting and discussing the 
intended motion by announcing that his administration was at an end. 

The effect was indescribable. No painter could have done justice to 
the varied emotions of astonishment, concern, and exultation expressed 
upon the countenances of the members. An adjournment for a few days 
was moved, and carried with little difficulty. Those who had expected a 
long debate had not ordered their carriages until .midnight, and as nearly 
all of them prefeiTed waiting to walking, they crowded the anteroom to 
excess. Lord North had directed his coachman to wait, and as he was 
about to enter his equipage, he turned to a group of members standing in 
uncomfortable confusion, with a characteristic smile, saying, " Good night, 
gentlemen ; I protest this is the first time in my life I ever derived any 
personal advantage from being in a secret." 

Rockingham, the head of the aristocratic portion of the Opposition, 
became Prime Minister, accepting the post on condition that there should 
be " no veto to the independence of America," to which the king sub- 
mitted in bitterness of spirit ; and Shelburne and Fox were made secre- 


taries of State. Shell)urne, as the elder secretary, had charge of the 
northern department of the British foreign service, which included 
America, and Fox the southern department, which included France. 
Tiius Slielburne could treat with Franklin and not with Vergennes ; and 
Fo.\ could treat with Vergennes but not with Franklin. Had the two 
secretaries been on cordial terms with each other, mischief might not 
have resulted from this awkwai-d condition of affairs. But Fox had a 
personal antipathy to Shelburne ; and Shelburne was in reality the 
leader of the rival party of the Opposition. Hence the way to peace was 
clogged with obstacles. When Eockingham died, three mouths later, 
Shelburne succeeded him as premier, and Fox, disliking the terms of 
peace then under consideration, united with Lord North and formed the 
famous " Coalition." 

Hartley, who had with keen political foresight paved the way for over- 
tures, and who "lived but to promote the longed-for peace," wrote to 
Franklin the day following the resignation of Lord North, asking advice 
in relation to submitting their late correspondence to the new Ministiy 
when it should be formed; to which Franklin replied on the 31st that his 
sentiments were the same as hitherto expressed, but being only one of 
five in a commission empowered to treat with England, of whom Adams 
was in Holland, Jay in Spain, Laurens in England, and Jefferson in 
America, he must first consult his associates.' The same day he for- 
warded the Hartley correspondence to Adams. On the 5th of April he 
wrote to Hartley in considerable anxiety of spirit concerning the charac- 
ter of the men who might be sent by the British government to confer on 
the subject of peace, remarking that " with contentious wranglers a nego- 
tiation may be drawn into length and finally frustrated." To Secretary 
Livingston he wrote on the 12th in the same strain.^ Meanwhile he 
opened a correspondence with Shelburne, who, with the approval of the 
king, sent Richard Oswald at once to confer witli Franklin. In conver- 
sation with the philosopher, Oswald said that England was prepared to 
concede the independence of the United States; but if France should 
demand concessions too humiliating England would still fight. On the 
18th Franklin and Oswald visited Vergennes, and were closeted 
in his cabinet nearly an hour. Shelburne's agent, a business man 
of moderate ability, who could not speak a word of French, was received 

1 Harlhy to Franklin, March 21, 1782 ; Franklin, to Hartley, March 31, 1782 ; Franklin 
to Adams, March 31, 1782 ; Congress, under date of June 15, 1781, vested full power, special 
and general, in Franklin, Adams, Jay, Laurens, and Jellerson, to confei', treat, and conclude 
all matters relating to the establisliment of peace with England, and the other European 

^ Franklin to Hartley, April 5, 1782 ; Franklin to Livingston, April 12, 1782. 


cordially by the French Minister, and was assured that the French Court 
warmly reciprocated England's disposition to end the American war ; and 
yet France, positisx'ly, could treat only tor a general peace. Vergeunes 
advised the selection of Paris as the seat of the negotiation, but offered to 
consent to any other place which George III. might prefer. Oswald desired 
some proposition to convey to Shelburne. " Xo," said Vergeunes ; " there 
are four nations engaged in the war against you, who cannot, till they 
have consulted and know each otlier's minds, be ready to make proposi- 
tions. Your court, being without allies and alone, knowing its own mind, 
can express it immediately. It is more natural to expect the first propo- 
sition from you." 

Oswald returned to London tinder the general impression that France 
was about to impose conditions which England would resent. In six- 
teen days he was in Paris again. During his absence Franklin 
wrote to Jay in Madrid, entreating him to come to Paris and aid 
in forming a treaty, remarking, " Spain has taken four years to consider 
whether she should treat with us or not. Give her forty, and iu the mean 
time let us mind our own business." But Oswald brought no propositions. 
His mission was to Franklin, not to Vergeunes. He said the other Secre- 
tary of State was about to send an agent to negotiate with the French Min- 
ister. The British Cabinet was already in a foment. Fox, resoh'ed upon a 
cjuarrel with Shelburue, had declared tliat the hostile powers must yield 
entirely. " If they do not we must go to war again ; that is all ; I am sure 
I am ready ; " he said. And he chose one of his own partisans, Thomas 
Grenville, son of George Grenville, a very young man, with no experience 
in public business, and totally ignorant of the nature of the relations be- 
tween America and France, to discuss these subjects — of such interest to 
mankind — with the most skillful diplomatist of Europe. Four 
days later than Oswald, Grenville arrived in Paris, bearing a 
cordial letter I'rom Fox to Franklin, who entertained him at breakfast, 
and then took him in his own carriage to Versailles, presenting him to 

European statesmen smiled when they heard that the envoy of the 
"rebels" had been requested by the British Secretary of State, to intro- 
duce the son of the author of the American Stamp Act, as British Pleni- 
potentiary to the Court of France. 

The agents from both Shelburue and Fox proved to be mere skirmish- 
ing parties. Grenville offered to grant the Independence of the United 
States to France, if she would restore certain specified conquests. Ver- 
geunes shook his head, and said that France found, but did not make 
America independent ; he defied the world to furnish tlie smallest proof 


to the contrary. " There sits Mr. Franklin, who knows the fact and can 
contradict me if I do not speak the truth," he exchiinied, with warmth. 
Grenville wrote long letters to Fox, calling him " Dear Charles," and 
tleclaring that he had not the "sliglitest expectation of peace." Franklin 
was affable and courteous ; he breaklasted both Oswald and Grenville, 
in company with Lafayette, who had just returned from America. A 
day or two after, Oswald suddenly departed for P^ngland. The same 
morning a letter from Hartley informed Franklin that an absolute order 
had gone forth for the release of all American prisoners everywhere, and 
that Laurens was entirely at liberty ; in a long conversation relating to 

America, Shelburne had expressed himself to Hartley in the most 
^^^ ^' favorable terms. On the 26th Grenville announced to Franklin 
that a commission had been forwarded to him from Fox ; but it was to 
treat with France, no mention being made of America, and Vergennes 
pronounced it insufficient. Suspicion seized upon the French Court. 
Franklin grew reticent, and would not unfold American conditions to a 
person unauthorized to receive them. Grenville, mortified and irritated, 
blamed Oswald, and wrote to Fox that he could not fight a daily battle 
with " a rival agent and his Secretary of State," and advised Fo.\ to 
assume the exclusive control of the negotiation. This letter broke up 
the British Cabinet, although the two factions held together until the end 
of June. 

After a tedious journey John Jay arrived in Paris, Sunday, June 23, 

accompanied by his family. Another month elapsed before Great 

June 23. --^ . . i i • i i o • ■ • -^ t 

JBritam took a decided step tor commencmg negotiations. On the 
25th of July the king issued an order to the attorney-general to prepare 
a commission for Oswald to conclude a general treaty witli the 
belligerent nations. Franklin wrote to Secretary Livingston and 
to Eobert Morris on the same day, cautioning them " not to he deceived by 
fair words," but, on the contrary, to be constantly on guard, and prepared 
for war. Jay had been an enthusiast for foreign alliance in the begin- 
ning of tlie struggle ; four years in Spain had dispelled his illusions, 
and now he distrusted all nations, France included. He was severely ill 
for a few weeks, during which time the British Cabinet was recast, Gren- 
ville retailed, and Fitzherbert sent to the French Court in his stead. 
About the middle oi August, Oswald's commission arrived, to wliich 
Jay took exception because the U^nited States were called " Colonies or 
Plantations." Franklin thought it would do ; and Vergennes intimated 
that names signified little. But Jay absolutely refused to sacrifice the 
moral dignity of his country, and stopped all proceedings until the power 
lie represented should be styled by its proper name. He even drafted 


the form of a commissiou, whicli, sent tu the British Court, was subse- 
quently adopted, aud the uew document reached Oswald Sep- 
tember 27. Ill the interim Franklin was ill, and Jay conducted, "^'^ 
alone, the various tliscussions as to the details of tlie prospective treat}-. 
Spain was an obstacle, and Vergennes wished to conciliate that jjower. 
Jay declined to treat with Count Aniada, whom he pronounced the ablest 
Spaniard he had ever known, until, according to established etiquette, he 
should communicate his powers from his go\'ernment. " An exchange 
of commissions cannot be expected," said Aruada, " for Spain has not ac- 
knowledged your independence." " We have declared our independence," 
replied Jay, " and France, Britiau, and Holland have acknowledged it." 
Lafayette, who was m company with Arnada at the moment, said the dig- 
nity of France would be compromised should her ally treat otherwise than 
as independent. Vergeimes urged Jay to waive his inflexible adherence 
to forms, aud proceed to the settlement of claims with Spain. Jay said, 
" We shall be content with no boundaries short of the Mississippi." 

October was devoted to the subject in earnest. At the request of 
Franklin, Jay drew up the articles of peace. Little progress, howe^■er, 
was made towards agreement on the three troublesome points — the boun- 
daries, the fisheries, and the Tories. On the 2tjth Adams arrixed ^ ^. 

Oct. 2h. 

from his successful Holland mission, and warml}' commended the 
wisdom and firmness of Jay. The month of Xovember was nearly spent 
before the business drew to a close. On the 28lh Laurens arrived and 
joined the conference, having been formally exchanged for Lord Corn- 
wallis. Friday, the 29th, was an exciting day for the commissioners. 
They met in the rooms of Jay at the Hotel d'Orleans. Oswald and Fitz- 
herbert were present, also Sir Henry Strachey, Baronet, then Under 
Secretary of State to Townshend, who had been sent to the assistance of 
Oswald. It was important to come to an understanding, for the Minis- 
try was in a tottering condition. Something must be done, or the 

" ° - . . , Nov 30. 

peace abandoned indefinitely. Hence the prelimmaiy articles 
were re-read, corrected, and approved. The next day they were signed. 

Prefacing these preliminary articles were the words, " The treaty is not 
to be concluded until terms of peace shall be agreed upon between Great 
Britain and France." But the document not having been submitted to 
A^ergennes until after it was signed, he was ill at ease. The sagacity and 
self-poise of Jay and Adams in demanding conce.ssious of Great Britain, 
contrary to his ad\ice and policy, inspired him with respect, while he pro- 
nounced their conduct " irregular," and in the irritation of the moment 
reproached Franklin with being too pliant in the hands of his colleagues. 
The aged philosopher hastened to mollify the Minister, and no serious harm 


ensued The commissioners, who had been instructed to do nothing with- 
out the knowledge and consent of France, were severely censured by 
Congress. Jay said, in regard to his determination to be independent 
in action, that Vergennes did not consult the American commissioners 
about his articles, and "giving him as little trouble about ours did not 
violate any principle of reciprocity." And not only Adams but Franklin 
and Laurens sustained Jay in the sentiment expressed to Secretary 
Livingston : " Since we have assumed a place in the political system of 
the world, let us move like a primary and not like a secondary planet." 

Vergennes and Fitzherbei't concluded terms January 18. Two days 
1783. I'lter Franklin and Adams, in the absence of Jay and Laurens, 
Jan. 20. .^vere suddenly summoned to Versailles for the signing of the 
general treaty. The Ministers of the three crowns of France, England, 
and Spain showed their commissions, as did also Franklin and Adams. 
Arnada and Fitzlierbert signed the preliminary treaty between Great 
Britain and Spain ; Vergennes and Fitzherbert that between Great Britiau 
and France ; and Fitzherbert, Franklin, and Adams the armistice between 
Great Britain and the United States. 

A definitive treaty between Great Britain and America was now in 
order. None of the articles of tlie provisional treaty could be carried 
into effect until it was accomplished. Congress would not even take the 
preliminaries into consideration. The distractions in the British Court 
prevented immediate steps to this end. Shelburne's policy had created 
the greatest dissatisfaction ; he was accused of stock-jobbing, criticised 
with virulence by the " Coalition," censured by the House of Commons, and 
finally retired from ottice. Oswald was pronounced incompetent to treat 
with the American commissioners, and recalled. All parties in England 
were disposed to prevent further waste of blood and treasure in pursuit 
of an object manifestly unattainable. But the methods of peace kept 
the lords of the realm in a perpetual wrangle. Public feeling, as well as 
the interests of the nation, called for a settlement of the perplexing 
business, and no progress could be made with the European powers until 
America was pacified. TJius sometliing must be done. 

David Hartley was finally selected to conclude negotiations on the 
part of Great Britain. His pure and lofty character, his broad views, 
his intuitive and tranquil discernment of things as they were, and his 
peculiar tact in diplomacy, rendered his appointment generally acceptable. 
Fox wrote to Franklin (April 19) that Hartley had " the full and entire 
confidence of his Majesty's Ministers upon the subject of his mission." 

His commission, under the king's own hand, Adams said, was "very 
magnificent." It bore the great seal in a silver box, the King's arms 


engraven on it, and ornamented witli two large golden tassels. He ]ire- 
sented it to the American Commission, assembled in Mr. Adams's rooms 
May 19. For the next three months the representatives of the 
two countries worked diligently. New articles were proposed, ^^ 
discussed, and rejected ; or, it' agreed upon in Paris, rejected in London. 
The questions at issue affected the interests of the whole civilized world. 
The propositions offered by America to the British government amounted 
to an entire abolition of the British "Act of Navigation" with respect 
to the thirteen United States. The ancient system of national commer- 
cial policy was called upon to take a new principle into its foundation 
— thereby its commercial engagements with other ancient powers were 
materially disturbed. Yergennes recommended that the definitive treaty 
be completed, leaving commerce to a luture negotiation ; but Adams 
curtly replied that " nothing wTiuld be gained by delay." The new em- 
pire, comprehending territory greater than that of all Europe, must needs 
adjust a commercial system of its own, and the sooner the better. 

Paris, at this epoch, was in the zenitli of its pride and .splendor. Never 
during its clieckeretl history was such a concourse of celebrities gathered 
there — not only the ministers from all nations, to discuss the weightiest 
of subjects, but sages and philanthropists, courtiers and scholars. Franklin, 
who had snatched the lightning from heaven and the scepter from tyrants, 
was the center of attraction. Mr. and Mrs. Jay resided with him in a 
comfortable mansion at Passy ; and the New York beauty charmed with 
her fund of knowledge, wit, and vivacity, and her engaging manners, the 
brilliant circle which daily surrounded his table or enlivened his evenings. 
Mrs. Jay was also a great favorite among the courtly aristocracy. Din- 
ners followed dinners in endless succession. The ministers of every 
country entertained the ministers of every other country. There was 
apparent harmony of feeling ; while the great topics of tlie liour were 
uppermost in the social mind. 

Spain, France, and England were embarrassed in their negotiations by 
a variety of clashing demands. Holland, leaning towards France, resisted 
England's stern conditions. Sweden, Eussia, and Denmark came to 
witness the trimiiph of the young power which had dared to refuse 
to talce the first step, except on equal footing with the proudest of them 
all, and were engaged in adjusting treaties of amity and commerce. In 
the mean time the Americans held the position of advantage, the final 
action of all the courts and nations depending upon the issue of their 
negotiations with Great Britain. 

When the month of August was nearly half spent Hartley invited 
Adams one fine sunshiny morning to drive with him to Passy, where, in 



conference with Franklin and Jay, he communicated instructions just 
received ii'om his court. The king had ratified the provisional 
"^ treaty under the great seal of the kingdom. Both the Duke of 
Portland and Fox had given him the strongest assurances of the good 
disposition of government, and written him to arrange all things imme- 
diately upon the best footing. The contested points, particularly the 
fisheries and the boundaries, of immense importance to the United States, 
had come to be regarded by the Ministry as of minor significance in 
comparison with the hazard of longer delaying the settlement of the 


Fac-Simileof the Signatures upon the Definitive Treaty of Peace. 

[From the in the Stale Department. Washington ] 

European question. Hartley produced the draft of a definitive treaty 
he had received, which proved to be the preliminary articles with a pre- 
amble. He said he was now ready to sign at any moment. On the 29th, 


when France and Spain declared their preparations complete, Hartley 
wrote, asking the representatives of the United States to fix the eventful 
day. He closed his note, saying : " My instructions confine me to Paris, 
as the place appointed for the exercise of my functions, and therefore 
whatever day you may fix upon for the signature, I shall hope to receive 
the honor of your company at the Hotel de York. I am, gentlemen, with 
the greatest respect and consideration, your most obedient servant." 

The following answer was returned, dated Passy, August 30, 1783 : 
" The American Ministers, plenipotentiaries for making peace with Great 
Britain, present their compliments to Mr. Hartley. They regret that IMr. 
Hartley's instructions will not permit him to sign the Definitive Treaty 
of Peace with America at the place appointed for the signature of the 
others. They M^ill, nevertheless, have the honor of waiting upon Mr. 
Hartley at his lodgings at Paris, for the purpose of signing the treaty 
in question, on Wednesday morning at eight o'clock." 

Accordingly on the 3d of September the American diplomatists, whose 
superiors as such were not to be found in any nation of Europe 
at that day, proceeded to the apartments of Hartley, and the ^^ ' 
Definitive Treaty of Peace between Great Britain and the United States 
was signed. The sketch is a fac-simile of the signatures, from the original 
document in the State Department at Washington, w-ith indications of the 
seals, now nearly obhterated, and of the ribbon, which is of pale blue. 
The treaty was in due course of time ratified by the King and Congress. 
Vergennes delayed the ceremony of signing the treaties at Versailles 
between Great Britain and France and Spain until a messenger from 
Paris arrived to announce that the signing of the American treaty had 
actually taken place ; after which, before the end of the same day, all the 
belligerent powers of Europe concluded peace, except the Dutch, who had 
assented to preliminaries only the day before. 

Benjamin West, successor of Sir Joshua Eeynolds as President of the 
British Academy, made an unfinished study in oil of the act which re- 
stored peace to the world. An engraved copy of this painting was pre- 
sented by George Grote, the historian of Greece, to John Jay, grandson 
of the Eevolutionary diplomatist, while United States Minister to Vienna.^ 
The benign countenance of Franklin, then in his seventy-seventh year, 
with his grandson, Temple Franklin, secretary of the Commission, stand- 
ing behind him ; tlie well-poised head and handsome features of Adams, 
scarcely forty-eight ; the pale, feeble-looking Laurens, not yet recovered 

^ To the courtesy of Hon. John Jay the author is indebted for a copy of the unfinished 
study by West, which, published for the first time, in our full-page engraving, illu.strates 
one of the most interesting scenes in modem history. 


from the hardships of his imprisonment in the Tower of London, a 
scholarly man of fifty-uiue ; and the tall, slight figure of Jay — who was 
ten years younger than Adams, and forty years younger than Franklin — 
standing, apparently addressing the Commission, with face and attitude 
expressive of the calm serenity, self-respect, and refined power of the 
highest type of human intellect and character, together form a picture 
which Americans will ever cherish with national pride. 

It is refreshing to note the gracious spirit with which the senior mem- 
bers of the Commission accorded the glory of obtaining the fisheries, the 
Mississippi, and the magnificent boundaries of the United States, to the 
youngest of their number. The British plenipotentiaries bore testimony 
to the same effect. Documents at present existing in both France and 
England prove that the French government, neither anxious nor willing 
America should lay the basis for such magnitude and grandeur, worked 
industriously to prevent England from yielding the fisheries, and labored 
vigorously to have the Mississippi given to Spain. Tlie community of 
fault-finders in the end acknowledged the sound judgment of the Amer- 
ican envoy who dared to veer from his instructions and take lofty ground 
with kingdoms and crowns, upon individual responsibility — through a 
sense of duty to the rising nation. And a just and prosperous people, 
in full enjoyment of the magic blessings made doubly sure through the 
clear order of his thought and the keen foresight of his statemanship, bless- 
ings which shine with advancing splendor as the years roll on, will never 
cease to honor with gratitude the achievement of John Jay of New York.* 

Only the American commissioners appear in the painting, the portrait 
of the English Minister not having been accessible to West. Some two 
years later, David Hartley presented Franklin with a large mezzotint 
portrait of himself, engraved by Walker from a painting by Romney, 
which Franklin in his note of acknowledgment, dated Philadelphia, 
October 27, 1785, said, "I shall frame and keep in my best room." It 
represents Hartley seated by a table upon which lies the Definitive 
Treaty of Peace with the United States, his right hand resting near the 
scroll, and the pen and ink in the background with which he is about to 

' "It was not only chiefly, but solely, through his means that the negotiations of that 
period, between England and France, were brought to a successful conclusion," wrote Fitz- 
herbert (Lord St. Helens) some years afterward. John Adams always affirmed that the title 
of " the Washington of the negotiation," bestowed upon himself in Holland, properly be- 
longed to .lay ; and he wrote, while President of the United States, under date of November 
24, 1800, " The principal merit of the successful negotiations for the peace of 1783 was Mr. 
Jay's." Governor William Livingston wrote to Jay, "The treaty is universally applauded." 
Alexander Hamilton wrote to Jay, " Tlie people of New England talk of making you an 
annual fish offering." 



consummate the final act necessary for the restoration of tranquillity to 
five great nations. He is waiting in his Paris apartments for the arrival 
(if the xVmcrican ^Ministers, (in tlie morning desiiinated for the sicining of 

David Hartley. 

[From a [i.iiiitini; by Roiiiney j 

the document ; and his emotional features Ijeam with delighted .satisfaction 
as he anticipates the final triumph his own nolile and persistent eflbrts 
have contributed so largely to accomplish. The incture hung in the 
study of Franklin until his di-ath. It is now in ]i(jssessiou of his great- 
grandson, Dr. T. H. Bache, through whose the co]iy ha.s been 



made which we present for the first time to the reading public. It 
possesses a dramatic interest beyond the mere portraiture of the man. 
It is an impressive illustration, in which we behold the ceremony of 
older institutions, represented by kings and nobles, bowing unconsciously 
before the divinity of a new liberty and a new world. i 

Vergennes entertained the diplomatists from the various countries at 

1 David Hartley, Member of Parliameut for Kingston-upon-Hull, and " His Britannic 
JIajesty's Minister Plenipotentiary apjiointed to treat with the United States of America " 
(born 1729, died 1813), was the son of Dr. David Hartley, author and metaphysician (bom 
1705, died 1752), whose publication of "Observations on Man" in 1749 gave him world-wide 
celebrity, and of whom it was said that " he was addicted to no vice in any part of his life, 
neither to pride, nor ostentation, nor any sordid self-interest, but his heart was replete with 
every contrary virtue " ; his great talents were specially directed to the moral and religious 
sciences ; he was the son of the Vicar of Armley, County of York, an eminent divine, 
whose family, one of great antiquity, was descended from the Hartleys of Chorton, of whom 
was Sir John Hartley, knighted in the eighth year of Charles I., October 
23, 1633. The motto of the family, "vive ut vivas," seems to have 
breathed through the character of a long line of generations of learned 
and jihilanthropic men. David Hartley, the statesman, like his father, 
was a student of science, and belonged to the highest type of the cul- 
tured Christian gentleman. His manly integrity, universal benevolence, 
and sincerity of heart were so well known in England, that in all his 
mediations for the good of America he commanded the respect and con- 
fidence of the contending parties at home. His "Letters on the Amer- 
ican War," addressed to the mayor and corporation of Kingston-upon- 
Hull, comprehend some of the ablest arguments of the period. He was 
also one of the first in the House of Commons to introduce and advocate 
Hartley Arms. measures for the abolition of the slave-trade. 

Of the sons of the Vicar of Armley, James, next to David, was distinguished for eminent 
piety and intellectual vigor. Robert, eldest son of James, born 1736, married Martha 
Smithson, gramldaughter of Sir Hugh Smithson, Baronet, and the cousin of Lord Percy, 
second Duke of Northumberland. See page 242 (Vol. II.), note. Isaac Hartley, the son of 
Robert Hartley and Martha Smithson, born at Cockermouth in 1766, married Isabella Johnson 
in 1787, and in 1797 established his residence in New York. They were the parents of 
Robert Milham Hartley, bom at Cockermouth in 1796, who has been so thoroughly identified 
during a long and useful life with church and charity in New York City. He was classically 
educated, but resigned studies for the ministry because of impaired health. Devoting himself 
to philanthropic works, he has been largely instrumental in founding several of New York's 
most important charita1)le institutions, now in noiseless and successful operation, among 
whicli was the first organization for the relief of the poor. His published reports, numbering 
thirty-four volumes, form a complete library in this department of social and economic 
science, and are quoted by writers on similar themes in Europe as well as America. He 
has also written other works upon kindred topics, been a regular contributor to the religious 
press, and for nearly half a century a leading elder in the Presbyterian Church of New York 
City. He married Catharine Munson, daughter of Reuben Munson, member of the New York 
legislature and alderman of the city for many years ; and he has nine children, four sons and 
five daughters, who have intermarried with the old families, and are among the substantial 
citizens of New York ; his third son is the Eev. Dr. Isaac Smithson Hartley, of the Dutch 
Reformed Church, Utica. 


a memorable dinner at Vers;iilles immediately after the signing of the 

While these events were transpiring in Europe the war was at a stand- 
still in America. Washington's army returned from the capture of Corn- 
wallis to the vicinity of New York City. Predatory excursions were 
freqiient during the winter. But with the change in the British Ministry 
Sir Henry Clinton was superseded by the humane Sir Guy Carleton. " I 
should be very sorry," wrote Governor Livingston, when he heard how 
bitterly the loyalists were blaming Clinton for the misfortunes of Corn- 
wallis, " to have Clinton recalled tlu-ough any national resentment ; 
because, as fertile as England is in the production of blockheads, 1 think 
they cannot easily send us a greater blunderbuss, unles.s, peradventure, it 
should please his Majesty himself to do us the honor of a visit." Carleton 
arrived early in May, 1782 ; and his first act was to liberate from a New 
York prison, without e.xacting a parole from either. Sir James, brother of 
John Jay, who had been instrumental in the passage of the New York Act 
of Attainder, and Brockholst Livingston, the brother of Mrs. John Jay. 
Carleton sent the latter home to his father with a courteous letter, stating 
that he (Carleton) had come to conciliate, not to fight. The governor was 
not to be thus lulled into security while a hostile army occuiiied the 
chief city of the country, and significantly remarked, " In worldly poli- 
tics, as well as religion, we should watch as well as pray." 

Washington accepted Carletou's expressions of good-will with caution. 
But as the weary summer r(jlled by and neither Sir Guy nor Admiral 
Digby seemed inclined to act offensively by land or by sea, he liegan to 
feel assured that no further military operations would lie undertaken. 
Peace was expected. It came so slowly, however, that the patience of 
the American army waned. Both officers and men fretted in idleness. 
There was scarce money enough to feed them day by day ; their pay was 
greatly in arrears ; and a general mistrust prevailed that Congress would 
fail to liquidate their claims in the end, and cast them adrift penniless. 

New York City breathed more freely under the new military admin- 
istration. Carleton found the inhabitants grievously oppressed. Un- 
princijded officials had dispossessed persons of their property who had 
taken no part in the Revolution, because perchance some member of the 
family resided out of the British lines. Houses were rented and the 
rents paid into the city funds. Justice could not be obtained, not even a 
trial or a hearing ; for civil law had been abolished, and all power and 
authority centered in a police court established by the military. The city 
charter was declared forfeited by the civil governor and his satellites ; 
and the revenues of the corporation were appropriated to their private 


uses. Carleton was amazed at the infamous character of the frauds and 
the cruelties from which the New-Yorkers had suffered, and instituted a 
vigorous war upon official corruption. Jones says " he broke, discharged, 
dismissed, and cashiered sucli a number of supernumeraries, pensioners, 
and placemen as saved the British nation, in the course of one year only, 
about two millions sterling." 

The French troops embarked for the West Indies in October. The 
American army went into cheerless winter-quarters on the Hudson. 
The impoverished condition of the country was perpetually discussed by 
the intelligent classes ; commerce was nearly annihilated, and the heavy 
burden of debt rested like an incubus on the people. Many doubted the 
possibility of maintaining a republican form of government. Finally 
the idea, long discussed in secret, found expression in a letter from 
Colonel Lewis Nicola, on behalf of himself and others, proposing to 
Washington to be made King of the United States for the " national ad- 
vantage 1 " Washington declined with indignant asperity, and reprimanded 
Nicola for having entertained such a thought. But it was no easy mat- 
ter to control the restless and unpaid soldiers through the idle months, and 
Washington's greatness in the emergency became more than ever conspic- 
uous. A mutinous spirit, provoked by repeated and irritating delays in 
obtaining compensation for services, and fresh difficulties arising from the 
uncertainty attending peace negotiations, kept him industrious and anx- 
ious. The spring of 1783 brought news of the signing of the armistice at 
Paris in January, and a cessation of hostilities was publicly announced 
to the army at noon, April 19, just eight years to a day since the conflict 
at Lexington. It was naturally next to impossible for the excited troops 
to distinguish between this proclamation and a definitive declaration of 
peace ; hence many considered any further claim on their military services 
unjust. Washington met the crisis nobly. Explaining the situation to 
Congress, he obtained discretionary powers to gi-ant furloughs, the soldiers 
being led to understand perfectly that their terms of service would not 
expire until the signing of the Definitive Treaty. During the summer 
following, men singly and men in groups were returning to their homes ; 
thus the danger of disbanding large masses at a time, of unpaid soldiery, 
was effectxially obviated. On the 6th of May Washington and Sir Guy 
Carleton met at Orangetown to arrange preliminaries for the evacuation 
of New York City, whenever the royal order should arrive. In the 
month of June, Egbert Benson was commissioned by Congress to co- 
operate with commissioners chosen by Carleton to inspect and superin- 
tend the embarkation of loyalists and their effects for Nova Scotia ; his 
associates were William Stephens Smith and Daniel Parker. 

THE ClNCiyXATI. 273 

The month of ^lay was distinguished by the organization of the cele- 
brated Society of the Cincinnati, which originated in tlie fertile mind of 
Knox, its object being to cement and perpetuate the friendship of tlie 
officers of the army who had fought and bled togetlier, and to transmit 
the same sentianent to their descendants. The plan was drafted by a 
committee composed of Knox, Hand, Huntington, and Shaw. The final 
meeting for its ailoption was held May 13, in tlie Verplanck Mansion at 
Fishkill on the Hudson, the headquarters of Baron Steuben, who, as 
senior officer, presided. Washington was chosen the first president, and 
officiated until his death. 

Sadness antl despair overwhelmed the loyalists. New York City pre- 
sented a scene of distress not easily described. Men who had joined the 
British army, and exhibited the utmost valor in battle, C[uailed before tlie 
inexorable necessity of exile from their native land. They nntst leave 
the country or be hanged. Such was the general belief, for those who 
had shown no mercy counted upon none in return. The conscientious 
and the unprincipled were alike involved in pecuniary ruin. Seeing that 
they must abandon large estates, many appealed to Carleton for power to 
collect debts due upon bonds, mortgages, and contracts, before the evacu- 
ation of the city should take place, for they were penniless. The compli- 
cations were insurmountable, and nothing w-as accomplished in that 
direction. Angry lamentations filled the very air. The victims of civil 
war inveighed against England for abandoning them, and against their 
own kindred and country for the inexorable harshness of their doom. 
They did not pause in their wretchedness to consider what would have 
been the fate of those who had expended or lost fortunes in tlie cause of 
liberty, if triumph had been with themselves. 

While Carleton was providing transports and embarking twelve or more 
thousand deeply humbled loyalists, with their household and other effects, 
to Nova Scotia, the Bahamas, and Creat Britain, and multitudes were 
hastening from the country to Xew York for passage, determined to risk 
starvation an foreign shores rather than encounter the terrible vengeance 
of those whom they had injured, Washington and Governor George 
Clinton were riding on horseback through the picturesque valleys of the 
Northern Hudson and the JMohawk, inspecting the posts and the battle- 
fields, and taking note of the wonderful topogi-aphy of New York. Theirs 
was the faint glimmer, not the full dawn, of the future. One angle of the 
State rests upon the Atlantic, another reaches to the St. Lawrence, and 
the third stretches to the chain of Great Lakes connected with the Mis- 
sissippi ; thus without overcoming one mountain ridge the city of New 
York might communicate with the Western States and Territories of our 

VOL. II. 18 



Nov. 25. 

Union, simply following the easy and natural course of valleys, rivers, 
and lakes, and control the commerce of the continent. The Missouri can 
now be navigated into the very gorges of the Rocky Mountains. From 
New York Bay to the Pacific Ocean, except a short space between 
the head-waters of the Missouri and the Columbia Rivers, we have an 
unbroken silver chain of water. The State in which every county and 
almost every spot of earth bore marks of bloody strife — the great battle- 
field of the Revolution — was in the broadest sense indeed the key of the 

Intelligence of the signing of the Definitive Treaty came at length; 
and Sir Guy Carleton gave notice that he should be ready for the final 
evacuation of New York on the 25th of November. George 
Clinton, by virtue of his office as governor of New York, was 
to take charge of the city, and repaired to Harlem to await events, 
accompanied by Washington. The British troops had been drawn in 
from Kingsbridge, McGowan's Pass, the various posts on Long Island, 
and Paulus Hook, By request of Carleton, to prevent any disorder 
which might occur as the British retired, a detachment of American 
troops under Knox marched from Harlem, on the morning appointed, 
down the Bowery Road to a point near the Fresh-Water Pond, where 
they remained seated on the grass until about one o'clock in the after- 
noon. As the rear-guard of the British army began to embark, they 
moved silently forward to the Battery, and took possession of the fort. 
Knox then galloped back with a chosen few to meet and escort Wash- 
ington and Clinton into the capital. The formal entry was witnessed by 
thousands. Washington and Clinton on horseback, with their suites, led 
the procession, followed by the lieutenant-governor, the legislature, offi- 
cers of the army, prominent citizens, and the military, amid the most 
heart-stirring and grateful enthusiasm. This scene forms a grand epoch 
in the annals of New York. 

Reade Arms. 

[See p.ii^e suy, fiofe.\ 




The Rf.tit.n' of New Youk F.\milies. — Desolation". — Kev. Dr. Johx Konr.ivns. ^ 
Chuiiches. — Rutgers College. — Kev. Dk. Hakhenbeugh. — Washington parting 
WITH HIS Officers. — Washington's Resignation of Authority. — James Duane 
APPOINTED Mayor of the City. — The Mayor's Court. — Riciiarp Varick. — The 
New York Legislature. — Old Morrisania. — The Morris Family. — The Loyal- 
I.STS. — Confiscation Acts. — The Cha.mder of Commerce Reorganized. — School.s. 
— First Regents of the University of Xew York. — Colu.mbia College. — News- 
papers. — First City Directory. — Political Throes. — of the 
Government. — Citizens. — Banking Interests. — Counterfeit Money. — The 
De Lancets. — The Livingstons. — The L.\wyers of the City. 

HOME again. From all quarters came together the limb.s and frag- 
ments of dismembered families. It was a co.stly victory that had 
been won, and many a tear fell amid the general rejoicings. There was 
scarcely a domestic circle into which death had not entered ; and charred 
and silent ruins greeted multitudes in place of homes left seven years 
before. Dwellings that had escaped the tlames were bruised and dis- 
mantled ; and gardens and grounds were covered with a rank growth 
of weeds and wild grass, fences had disappeared, and the debris of 
army life was strewed from one end of the town to the other. Public 
buildings were battered and worn with usages foreign to the purposes 
of their erection, and the trade of New York was ruined, and her treas- 
ury empty. 

The Rev. Dr. John Rodgers arrived in the city the day following the 
evacuation, and found both the Brick Church in Beekman Street and the 
Wall Street Presbyterian Church in unfit condition for public worship — 
having been used as hospitals by the British. But the Episcopalians 
courteously offered him the use of St. Paul's Chapel and St. George's 
Chapel, in which he preached alternately to his congregation for several 
months.! jjg ^y^g ^ courtly personage, of gentle and conciliatory manners, 

' The change in public feeling is strikingly illustrated hy this inoiilent. See Vol. I. 7i>\. 
The Brick Church on Beekman Street was the first repaired. The Wall .Street Church was 


but " imcompromising in matter." Jones says that he " had given more 
eueouragement to reljellion, liy his treasonable harangues from the puljiit, 
than any other republican preacher, perhaps, upon the continent." His 
influence was now e.Kerted to perpetuate the peace secured. "I have the 
good old gentleman at this moment distinctly before me," writes Duer, 
■"in his buzz-wig, three-cornered hat, gold-headed cane, and silver buckles 
in his well-polished shoes — as he passed along the street in his gown 
and bands, which he wore not only on Sundays, Init on week-days when 
visiting among his people — bowing right and left to all who saluted 
him." The Dutch Eeformed Church in Garden Street was found intact, 
and reopened on the Sabbath following the evacuation. Eev. Dr. John 
Henry Livingston occupied the pnlpit.^ It was seven years before the 
Middle Dutch and the North Dutch Church edifices were restored from 
the ruinous condition in which they were left by the A School 
of Theology, established in Xew Brunswick, New Jersey, in 1770, was 
chartered under the name of Queen's College — now Eutgers — and the 
trustees elected Eev. Dr. Jacol^us Eutsen Hardenbergh President ; but it 
had not been in practical operation through the confusion of events. 
]VIeanwhile Dr. Hardenbergh had preached at Earitan, taken no pains to 
conceal his republican sentiments, as a member of the New Jersey Con- 
vention which framed the Constitution of the State was frequently in 
counsel with Governor Livingston, and was visited at his little parsonage 
daily by Washington when quartered in the vicinity. He came to New 
York to witness the triumphal entry of Washington ; and before he 
returned to his charge arranged with Dr. Livingston to use every exertion 
in obtaining an endowment to carry the plan of the college into execu- 
tion. This was achieved within the next three years, and Dr. Harden- 
bergh removed to New Brunswick, where he labored indefatigably for its 
advancement until his death in 1790.^ 

not opened until .June 19, 1784. The expense of restoring the two edifices to their former 
conilition was met by private subscription. On the 6tli of April, 1784, the Presbyterian 
Church became a body corporate, and was thus relieved from the difficulty it liad &o long 
sustained for want of a charter. Memoirs of iiet'. Br. John Roclgcrs, by Rev. Dr. Samuel 

I See Vol. I. 750 ; Rev Dr. Laidlie died at Red Hook in 1778. 

- Rev. Jacobus Eutsen Hardenbergh, D. D., born at Eosendale, Ulster County, New York, 
in 1738, was the .son of .Johannes Hardenbergh, the chief owner of the manorial patent 
which embraced the most of Sullivan and Orange Co\inties, and who is said to have been 
a near relative of the Oerman statesman, Karl .-Vugust Von Hardenberg, Prime Minister of 
Frederic William 111. He studied theology with Rev. John Freliiiglmysen — the .son of Rev. 
T. .T. Fi'clingliuysen, and one of five brotliers who were all ministers — in Raritan, New 
.Jersey ; and completed his studies at Schenectady under the celebrated Dr. Itonieyn. After 
the early and lamented death of Rev. Jolin Frelinghuysen, Dr. Hardenbergli married his 

}!KV. DR. lIAniJEXBEIiGH. 211 

Wasliiugton \yas quartered at Fraimces' Tavern, corner of Broad and 
Pearl Streets, ' where the officers of the army gatheretl about him 
prejiaratory to their final separation. Knox, who liad been chief of 
artillery through the entire war, commanded the military forces in the 
city until the civil authority sliould be reconstructed. He was a man of 
large, athletic frame, head well poised, and voice of singular power. 
When the American army crossed the Delaware, it is said his orders could 
he heard from one side of the river to the other. There was a dash of 
romance in his life, and an air of consequence in liis bearing, that ren- 
dered him interesting to the community at large. He was of Scotch-Irish 
stock, born in Boston. Even in boyhood he evinced strong military 
proclivities, collected and distributed military books, and accumulated a 
valuable fund of military knowledge. As a stripling, engaged in the 
book business, he became prosperous ; his store was the resort of the 
young ladies of Boston — who were then as now fond of reading — with 
one of whom he fell in love. The attachment was mutual ; Ijut the lady 
was the daughter of a high official under the king, who would not sanc- 
tion her marriage with a rebel, and the pair consecj^uently eloped. In 
June, 1775, after the British commander had issued an order that 
no one should take arms out of the city, Henry Knox and his devoted 
wife walked out of the city together, Mrs. Knox carrying her husband's 
sword concealed in her garments ; having secured her safety in the coun- 
try, Knox hastened to assist in the Battle of Bunker Hill as a volunteer 
aide-de-camp to General AVard. During the eight years of the war he 
had displayed some great moral and intellectual qualities. He was now 
thirty-three. Within two years we shall find him Secretary of War, and 
also performing the duties of Secretary of the Navy for the new nation ; 
while ^Irs. Knox, who had braved so many dangers for love, became the 
centre of attraction in the highest social circle at the seat of govern- 

widow, one of thi- most accomplished and remarkable women of her day, whose only son, 
Frederick Frelinj;huyseii, became a member of tlie Continental Congi'essinl777, and resigned 
to join the army. He was United States Senator from 1793 to 1796. His son, Theodore 
Frelinghuysen, completed a classical education at New Brunswick in 1804, studied law, was 
appointed Attorney-General of the State in 1817, was United States Senator from 1829 to 
1835, Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, in 1837, and became Cliancellor of the Unirersity of the 
City of New York in 1S38, which he resigned in IS.iO to accept tlie Presidency of Rutgers 
College. Dr. Hardenbergh visited Holland in 1762, and was the first minister ordained in 
.\merica who ever preached in the churches of the Fatherland. He died in 1790, universally 
lamented. His son, Jacobus R. Hardenbergh, a lawyer and a man of fortune, settled in New 
Brunswick, and was the ancestor of the present family of the name in New Brunswick, Jersey 
City, and New York. 

1 See sketches, Vol. 1. 656, 7.'iP. 


The formal parting of Washington with his officers occurred at noon 
on the 4th of December, in the arreat historic room of Fraunces' 

Dec 4 . 

Tavern. It was a touching ordeal. He tilled a glass with wine 
and pronounced his farewell benediction, after which each one present 
grasped his hand and gave him a brother's embrace in tender silence. 
He then passed from the room through a corps of light infantry, and 
walked to Whitehall Ferry, attended by his generals, where a barge 
waited to convey him to Paulus Hook on his way to Congress. When 
he had embarked he turned, took off his hat, and waved a silent 
adieu, which was returned in the same significant manner, with visible 
emotion upon every countenance. 

In four days he reached Philadelphia, and rendered his military 
accounts to the proper department of the government, entirely in his own 
handwriting, and not a penny was charged or retained as a recompense 
for personal services. On the 19th he arrived in Annapolis, where Con- 
gress was in session, and on the 23d resigned the authority with which 
he had been invested. The public ceremonial on this occasion was con- 
ducted with great dignity and witnessed by an immense throng. When 
concluded, Washington immediately repaired to his seat at Mount 

James Duane was the first Mayor of New York City appointed by 
Governor Clinton after peace was established. He found his country- 
seat near Gramercy Park a pile of ashes, and all his movable effects 
destroyed. His wife had spent the greater part of the seven years of 
strife at the old manor-house of her father, Piobert Livingston — the 
third Lord of Livingston Manor. But they were soon able to settle them- 
selves in a comfortable habitation in the city. The mayor's court, under 
the administration of Duane, became the favorite and really the most 
im])ortaut forum. It was held in a building which stood on the corner of 
Wall and Nassau Streets. Disorder in exQvy man's affairs, consequent 
upon the long military possession of the city by the enemy, rendered the 
duties of the mayor extremely perplexing. Losses arising from the sus- 
pension of rents, damages done by loyalist tenantry, the destruction or 
removal of records and consequent indistinctness of titles, the processes of 
confiscation of estates, the swift mutation in tlie relative value of money, 
property of all kinds, and securities, with the sudden tightening of 
pecuniary obligations — the sense of which had been very easy for some 
years — engendered the most knotty of legal questions. Litigation became 
more brisk than any other department of industry. Eight lawyers only 
had hitherto been allowed to practice in this court ; but during 1784 
the restriction was remo\ed in favor of all attorneys and counselors of 


the sui^reme court. In consequence of this change of policy, togetlier 
with the high judicial reputation of Duaue, the mayor's court suddenly, 
anil by common consent, acquired a business and an authority scarcely 
contemplated by the statutes creating it. The character of the city char- 
ter was not changed by the Eevolution, but the controlling power which 
had formerly been exercised by the British government was now vested 
in the State. The city remained divided into seven wards, and an alder- 
man and assistant were elected every year by the people. 

Kichard Varick was a})pointed city recorder, and by virtue of his office 
was the mayor's judicial colleague. As a member of Washington's mili- 
tary family he had become widely known, and stood well in the pulilic 
confidence. He was a young man of thirty, of spotless character and 
broad intelligence, and stately of mien and austere in his views. He was 
subsequently Attorney-General of the State, and Duaue's successor in the 
mayoralty. He is said to have been inclined to reverse the human 
maxim of the common law, by presuming a person guilty, if accused, until 
his innocence was proved. 

The legislature of the State assembled in New York City on the 21st 
of January, the session continuing until May 12. This branch of 1784. 
the new government consisted of the Senate and the Assembly. ■'*" ^^• 
Bills might originate in either house, but must be passed in both to be- 
come laws. The Senate, under the first constitution, consisted of twenty- 
four members, so divided into classes that the terms of six should expire 
each year. Lieutenant-Governor Pierre Van Cortlandt was the i^residing 
officer ; Kobert Benson, who had been the clerk of the Senate through six 
preceding sessions, filled that office until the 18th of February, when he 
was succeeded liy Aliraham B. Bancker. James Duane, William Floyd, 
Ezra L'Hommedieu, Alexander McDougall, Lewis Morris, Isaac Roose- 
velt, Isaac Stoutenbergh, Samuel Towusend, and Stephen Ward repre- 
sented the soutlieru district, which embraced the city and adjoining 
counties. And from other parts of the State came Philip Schuyler, Abra- 
ham Yates, Jr., Henry Outhoudt, Jacob G. Klock, Ephraim Paine, Joseph 
Ga.sherie, John Haring, Jacobus Swartwout, Arthur Parks, William Alli- 
son, Alexander Webster, John Williams, and William B. Whiting. 

The Assembly was chosen annually. It consisted, at first, of seventy 
members, with the power to increase one with every seventieth increase of 
the number of electors until it should contain three hundred memliers. 
The newly chosen membership from the metropolis embraced Robert Har- 
per, John Lamb, Isaac Sears, Peter P. Van Zandt, John Stagg, William 
Malcom, Hemy Rutgers, Henry Hughes, and ]\Iarinus Willett, who liad 
been so heroic in tlie defense of central Xew York, but whose seat in the 



Assembly was vacated in February from his having been appointed sheriff 
of the city, an, office he held for many following years. John Hathoru, of 
Orange, was chosen Speaker of the Assembly, and John McKesson was 
appointed clerk. 

The adjustment of public concerns was constantly retarded by the 
dead-lock in private affairs. In January Gouverneur iMorris wrote to 
John Jay, from Philadelphia, " I was lately in New York, and things there 
are now in that kind of ferment that was rationally to be expected." 
Prior to the evacuation, indeed, e\'er since the preliminary articles of 
peace were signed, the Americans had been allowed access to the city, 
and many of the banished residents had pre.sented claims to the British 
authorities for dej)redations upon their property. The records of these 
transactions .sliow that Sir Guy Carleton and tlie other officei'S concerned 

acted on prin- 
and generous. 
Lancey's regi- 
stationed nearly 
the Morris es- 
airia, which was 
ish lines; seven- 
erected, the soil 
ber had been cut 
dred and seven- 
land for various 
tie and provis- 
taken whenever 
and affidavits 
particulars were 
board of corn- 
pointed by Sir 
who reported 

Old Morrisanta. 

ciples honorable 
For instance, De 
ment had been 
two years upon 
tate, at Morris- 
within the Brit- 
ty huts had been 
cultivated, tini- 
froni four hun- 
ty acres of wood- 
purposes, and cat- 
ions had been 
desired Papers 
certifying these 
examined by the 
missioners ap- 
Guy Carleton, 
the facts ]5ro\'ed 
claimant, Mrs. 

and tlie charges reasonable, ami recommended that the 
Mori'is (the mother of Gou\^erueur iSIorris, who was of the scholarly 
French family of Gouverneurs in early New York), be paid the full 
amount of her demands. The claim, amounting to upwards of eight 
thousand pounds, was sent to England, and subsequently liquidated, 
although not during that lady's lifetime. 

That portion of the seat of the Morrises known as " Old Morrisania " 
became the property of Gouverneur Morris. In 1800 he erected the 
dwelling of the accompanying illustration, from the design of a French 
chateau. It overlooks the East River just where it is joined by the 


waters of Harlem Eiver, the view fruiu the mansion being deftly shown 
by our artist. It is surrounded by Hue old elms and smooth lawns, and 
has been well preserved with fe\\' alterations by his descendants. Lewis, 
the elder brotlier of Gouverneur Jlorris, signer of the Declaratiun of IikU-- 
]ieudence, possessed an ample estate a little farther inland.-' Staats Limij, 
jMorris, the brother of the patriots, who married the daughter of the Earl 
of Aberdeen long before the IJevolutiou, and was a general in the British 
service, remained in England, and subseepiently became Governor of 
Quebec. Eicliard, like his younger brother, Gouverneur, was a lawyer 
of original and jieculiar gifts, and in 1779 was apjiointed Chief Justice of 
New York, holding the position eleven years; he married Sarah Ludlow. 

The restoration of the loyalists to full citizenship became at once a 
question of exciting moment. The rigid laws enacted by the State had 
deprived many persons of their property, ^\•ithout any opportunity of 
defending themselves, which was declared contrary to the usages of all 
civilized nations. Living within the lines ujion one's own estate 
was in itself certainly no "treason." Protection was sought fn.mi the 
American authorities, and in some instances obtained, which encouraged 
others \\\w had been attainted to return and apply for justice. E.\traor- 
dinary debates ending in wrangles were ot daily occurrence. " There 
ought, sir, no Tory to be suffered to exist in America. Until the goats 
are separated from the sheep, ^\■e must expect to row against the stream," 
exclaimed one of the able leaders of the Kevolutiou. While otiiers 
of equal rank argued elocpieutly in tavor of forgetting and fiirgiving, 
and against persecuting men for opinions or seeming to take unmanly 

The right of one party in a civil conHict to levy upon another, and the 
fact that the British generals exercised that right throughout the war, 
was urged in defense of the principle of confiscation, and finally a legisla- 
tive act, embracing a decree of perpetual outlawry and banishment against 
certain individuals whose names were mentioned, confirmed former en- 
actments. Popular animosity, however, gradually relaxed. ]\Iany liberal- 
minded men of prominence pronouncetl the measure arbitrary and cruel. 
Tliese were instantly accused in turn of undue subservience to Brit- 
ish influence. Then came the counter-charge of avarice, rapacity, anil 

' Lpwi.s Morris, signer of tlie Declaration of Independence, was the eldest son of Jndge 
Lewis Morris (see Vol.1. 575, 576), born at Morrisania in 1726, died in 1798 ; three of his sons 
.served with distinction in the army and received the thanks of Congress, of whom Lewis was 
aide to Sullivan, and afterwards to Greene : James, the fourth son, married Helen Van Coit- 
landt, daughter of Augustus Van Cortlandt, and .ei-octed the great, s(juare, handsome dwelling 
which stands upon an eminence near Fleetwood Park, the present residence of William H. 
.Morris. The Moriises were all men of siilendid phy.-i'iue. 


resentment. Old feuds were revived, and personal quarrels reopened. 
The lines of party were drawn which subsequent events more strongly 
defined; and upon which the most important changes in the political 
history of the State have turned. 

Business revived slowly. As spring advanced the mercantile interests 
of the city were discussed with vigor, and various were the methods pro- 
posed for encouraging trade. A petition from several of the prominent 
members of the Chamber of Commerce for a confirmation of their charter, 
whicli was said to be forfeited, was duly considered by the legislature, 
and on the 13th of April " An act to remove doubts concerning the 
Chamber of Commerce, and to confirm the rights and privileges thereof," 
became a law. Seven days later a meeting was held and the 
institution reorganized under the name of the " Chamber of Com- 
merce of the State of New York." Old members, who had been exiles 
from the city for seven years, as well as many of those who had kept up 
the meetings during the war, continued or renewed their connection with 
the Chamber; among these were John Alsop, Daniel Phoenix, Isaac 
Eoosevelt, the noted Whig and State senator, Eobert li. AVaddell, Jacobus 
Van Zandt, James Beekman, Gerardus Duyckink, who lost seven houses 
in the fire of 1778, Daniel Ludlow, Henr}' Kemsen, Peter Keteltas, 
Daniel McCormick, a rich bachelor living on Wall Street, famous for his 
mixture of generous hospitality, convivial habits, and strict religious prin- 
ciples, Theophylact Bache, former President of the Chamber, William 
Laight, who afterwards filled many important offices of trust, Oliver 
Templetou, John Murray, one of the elders in Dr. Eodgers's Church, and 
at a later date President of the Chamber for eight years 1798-1806, 
Francis Lewis, Thomas Eandall, Walter Buchanan, and William Walton. 

The subject of public instruction was discussed in social circles, in the 
pulpits, in the newspapers, and in the various political and business 
assemblages, during the winter and spring, without material results. 
Schools maintained by religious societies through voluntary contributions 
were reopened ; the " public school," under the auspices of the Consistory 
of the Dutch Eeformed Church, was henceforward called the " charity 
school," and it lost its distinctive language as well as its name. Individ- 
ual school enterprises of slight importance were projected, and failed for 
want of support. What to do with Kings College, which had been arrested 
in its operations eight years before, and the edifice used as a military 
hospital, became a question of vital interest. Finally an act of the legisla- 
ture, passed on the 1st of May, created the University of the State, 
an institution patterned from the English University of Oxford, 
and amended the charter of the college, changing its name from Kings to 


Columbia. The first Eegents of the University were named in the act. 
They were men of highest eminence and scholarship, empowered to found 
schoots and colleges in any part of the State. But in consequence of 
their residences in different and remote sections, a quorum could not be 
assembled, and tlie sy.stem was altered the following Novemlier, and new 
appointments made in the law. Even the new .system was found in- 
operative. It was finally proposed by Hamilton, and recommended by a 
committee of the Regents, able men, whose superiors could not be found 
in the nation, that each subordinate institution composing the University 
should have its own officers and trustees, with governing powers, but sub- 
ject to the inspection and control of the Board of Eegents. An act to 
this effect passed the legislature April 13, 1787, and is still in force. 
Thus did New York, with singular foresight, provide her grand scheme 
of public instruction, when only one poverty-stricken college, and not an 
academy or a common school, existed within her borders. The Univer- 
sity now consists of thirty-seven colleges and two hundred and twenty- 
four academies, all acting in harnion}', and greatly iutluencing some 
thirteen thousand common schools, whose superintendent is himself a 
member of the Board of Eegents. 

Governor George Clinton was the first Chancellor of the University, and 
Eev. Dr. Eodgers Vice-Chancellor.^ Columbia College was reorganized 
and a committee empowered to provide, in a temporary way, for what 
might be most needful, but want of funds prevented final arrangements 
until 1787. The first student was De Witt Clinton, a precocious boy 
of fifteen. His father, General James Clinton, on his journey to place 
De Witt in Princeton College, stopped in New York City one summer 
morning of 1784. Mayor Duane was a member of the above com- 
mittee, and, unwilling that a Clinton should go out of the State for 
his education, hastened to the elegant scholar, Eev. Dr. William Coch- 
rane, and induceil him to undertake the tuition of the youth, and such 
others as might appl}-, until professorships in the college should fie estab- 
lished. Young Clinton, who had been prepared for this ordeal in the 
academy at Kingston, under John Addison, was examined in presence 
of the Eegents and admitted to the junior class. He was graduated as 
Bachelor of Ai-ts in 1786. The first President of Columbia College, Wil- 
liam Samuel Johnson, son of the first President of this institution as Kings 
College, was elected in the spring of 1787 ; up to which time a presi- 
dent's duties were discharged by the various professors in turn. 

■ John Jay was the second Chancellor ; after him, George Clinton again filled the office 
fonr years ; and Morgan Lewis, Daniel D. Tompkins, John Taylor, Simeon De AVitt, 
Stephen Van Rensselear, James King, Peter 'W'enJell, Gerrit Y. Lansing, John Y. L. Pruyn, 
and Erastus C. Benedict have followed in regular succession until the present date, 18S0. 


Among the early Eegents were Bishop Provost, Eev. Dr. Livingston, 
Rev. Dr. John Mason, Eev. John Gano, John Jay, Leonard Lispenard, 
Wijlter Livingston, John Eutherford, Morgan Lewis, Anthony Hoffmann, 
Lewis Morris, John Lawrence, Ebenezer Eussell, Dr. John Cochrane, Dr. 
Charles McKnight, Alexander Hamilton, Walter Livingston, Thomas 
Jones, Mathew Clarkson, and Abraham B. Bancker, nearly all of whom 
were characters familiar to the reader. Eev. John Gano, a clerical scholar 
of rare culture, pastor of the infant Baptist Church for sixteen years 
prior to the war, had been a chaplain in the army, and upon returning 
to the city with the establishment of peace could iind but thirty-seven 
out of his two hundred church-members. Their little house of worship 
had been used as a stable, but was soon repaired. Mr. Gano labored 
successfull)' in this field until 1788, when he resigned his charge and 
removed into the wilds of Kentucky. During his ministry he received 
into the church by baptism two hundred and ninety-seven persons. His 
successor was Eev. Dr. Benjamin Foster, who filled the pulpit ten years. 
The third pastor was Eev. William Collier. During the ministry of the 
latter the old structure was replaced by a new one, sixty-five feet by eighty, 
and the dedication sermon was preached in May, 1802, by Eev. Dr. Ste- 
phen Gano, of Providence, Ehode Island, son of Eev. John Gano.^ 

Dr. Charles McKnight was not only one of the Eegents, but was pres- 
ently appointed Professor of Surgery and Anatomy in Columbia College, 
and also Port Physician of New York. He had served the country 
throughout the Eevolution, was three years " Senior Surgeon of the 
Flying Hospital," and towards the close of the war became " Surgeon 
General and Chief Physician " of the army. He was specially distin- 
guished as a practical surgeon, and at the time of his death; writes Duer, 
"was without a rival in that branch of his profession."^ His wife was a 

1 See Vol. I. 753. Stephen Gano, a Huguenot, whose parents settled in New Rochelle, 
married Ann Walton. Their grandson was Rev. John Gano ; his sous were : John, of Cin- 
cinnati ; Lsaac ; Richard Montgomery, grandfather of Dr. James M. Gano, of New York, 
George A. Gano, of Denver, Colorado, and Joseph J. Gano, of Pittstield, Illinois; Rev. Ste- 
phen, of Pi-ovidence ; and William. Among the promineut members of the family in Cin- 
cinnati is John Gano, of Tlie Cincinnati Commercial. 

2 Dr. Charles McKnight was born in 1750, at Cranberry, New Jersey, and died in 1791. 
He was the son of Rev. Charles McKnight, a Presbyterian clergyman who came to this country 
about the year 1 740, and became jiastor of the united congregations of Cranberry and AUentown, 
New Jersey, and afterwards of Shrewsbury .and Middletou Point. The McKnight family, 
originally of Scotland, located in the County of Antrim, Ireland, about the close of the six- 
teenth century, where they subsequently distinguished themselves in the cause of William 
III. The father of Rev. Charles McKniglit was Rev. John McKnight, a divine of great 
eminence, whose father, Mr. John McKnight, was one of the defenders of Londonderry in the 
memorable siege of that city, and afterwards lost an arm at the decisive battle of the Boyue. 
The church at Middletou Point was burned by a detachment of British troops in 1777, aud 

XEW'SPAFEliS. 285 

lady of great personal beauty and social prominence. She was Mary, the 
only daughter of the famous lawyer and patriot, John Morin Scott, who, 
as the young widow of a British officer, Colonel John Litchfield, spent 
the gi'eater part of the period of hostilities within the British lines, and 
is said to have furnished material information to her father and to 
Governor Livingston, with whose daughters she was in constant corre- 
spondence. Her intense devotion to the American cause is not surprising, 
when we remember the blended races to which she owed her ancestry. 
Her father was of ancient Scotch lineage ; her mother, Helena Eutgers, 
of New York, was of the prominent old Dutch stock ; and her grand- 
mother, Marie Morin, was from an equally high-toned French Huguenot 
family who settled in New York after the revocation of the Edict of 
Nantes. Some of J\Irs. McKnight's spirited letters are in existence ; two 
or three written to Miss Anna Van Home, one of the daughters of David 
Van Home, afterwards the wife of William Edgar, give thrilling glimpses 
into the midnight scenes of that summer of alarm, 1776. The Scott 
family had taken refuge in New Jersey, and rumors that the British were 
about to land were perpetual. " We have," she writes, " our coach stand- 
ing before our door everv ni<,'lit, and the horses harnessed, readv to make 
our escape if we have time." They were, it seems, ordered to fly one night 
in the midst of a violent tliunder-storm. " After proceeding about a 
mile," she says, " old daddy Ctesar was so frightened he could not manage 
the horses, so mamma sent me outside to drive." 

The press was in a formative state, like all other institutions. Journal- 
ism had not yet become a profession. Existing newspapers were few, 
and managed by ambitious political chiefs, as armies are manipulated by 
their generals. The sheets were small upon whicli they were printed, 
and crowded with advertisements. The reading matter, what there was 
of it, was contributed by scholars and politicians, but nearly every writer 
was bound to party, and many years were to elapse before the germ of 
what is now one of the chief glories of America acquired anything ap- 
proximating to full freedom of thought and action. 

In the early part of 1784 the New York Legislature, learning of the 
death of John Holt, the printer, who had been " of eminent service to his 
country," employed Mrs. Elizabeth Holt, his widow, in printing the 
journals and otlier matters connected with the government ; she also con- 
ducted the paper for a time which Holt had published in Poughkeepsie 
during the conflict, and resumed in New York in 1783, called Tlu Inde- 
pendent Gazette, or New York Journal revived. Four newspapers flour- 

the Rev. Charles McKnight was carried a i)ri.soiier to New York, where he died January 1, 1778. 
He was present at the battle of Princeton, and stood so near General Mercer when he fell as to 
receive a severe saber-cut on his head. He was one of the trustees of Princeton College. 


ished in the city during the greater period of its occupancy by the 
British troops ; in order to have the advantage of a daily newspaper, an 
arrangement was made with the proprietors of each to publish on differ- 
ent days. Thus Eivingtou's Royal Gazette, which was the most notable 
of any for its extraordinary untruths and abuse of the Americans, ap- 
peared on Wednesdays and Saturdays, Hugh Gaine's Gazette or Mercury 
on Mondays, and two others of lesser importance on Thursdays and Fri- 
days. As the war drew to a close Eivingtou's loyalty cooled. He 
wished to continue his residence in New York, where he had established 
a bookstore. His paper dropped its appendages of royalty and appeared 
as a plain democratic newspaper, entitled Bivington's New York Gazette 
and Universal Advertiser. But he was disturbed by the people, and 
relinquished the enterprise before the end of a twelvemonth. Hugh 
Gaine's paper closed with the war. He had been distinguished by the 
facility with which he could balance himself upon the political fence ; 
when fortune was with the British he was the most loyal of kingly sub- 
jects, when with America he was a patriot of deepest dye. " "VVlien the 
contest was doubtful he was the completest pattern of a genuine doubter." 
Samuel Loudon, editor of The New York Packet and American Advertiser, 
returned from Fishkill to New York on the conclusion of peace ; in 1785 
he changed his publication, which was the political opponent of Hie New 
York Journal, from a weekly to a daily. Loudon himself was an elder 
in the Scotch Presbyterian Church of New York. 

The population of the city, a practical fusion of many elements and 
nationalities, was in a changeful condition during the entire period com- 
prehended in the present chapter. Homes were little more than resting- 
places. Everything was mixed and uncertain. Houses were occupied 
one day and vacant the next. People moved into the town, but others 
moved away ; thus there was no material increase of abiding citizens. 
Eubbish and ruins still marked the track of the great fire of 1776, and 
oue or two hundred horses and cows might have been seen grazing in the 
open fields about Eeade Street, where there was a burying-ground for 
negroes, and scarcely a single house. In the rear of the Old City Hospital, 
between Duane and Anthony Streets, was a rural orchard so secluded 
that it was chosen for the scene of a duel in 1786, in which one of the 
parties was mortally wounded. The map of Manhattan Island (page 68) 
forcibly illustrates the size of New York City at this juncture, a mere 
speck in comparison with its present proportions. Its population did not 
at any time within these four years exceed twenty-four thousand. Its 
first directory, published in 1786, was a little primer of eighty-two pages, 
containing nine hundred names of individuals and firms, with statistics 


of a varied character, an almanac, and a table of coins ; this was produced 
by David Franks, who advertised himself as an attorney, and Shepherd 
Kollock, formerly of The New Jersey Journal, both editors as well as 
enterprising printers ; Kollock was also a judge of common pleas for 
thirty-five years. Public whipping was still in vogue for various mis- 
demeanors, men were imprisoned for debt, and colored slaves occupied 
a niche in every liousehold of importance. 

Several prominent military characters passed away during the same 
period. Lord Stirling died in Albany, in January, 1783. He had ren- 
dered constant and important services to the country since the beginning 
of the war, and was deeply lamented by all who knew him in public or in 
private life. His estates were sacrificed at forced sales, and nothing was 
left his family of value. Oliver De Lancey died in England in Novem- 
ber, 1785, at the age of sixty-seven ;^ he had fought for George III. with 
a self-sacrificing heroism vastly exceeding tliat of England's native gen- 
erals ; but from his life-long connection with New York affairs, the news 
of his death was .received with tearful sadness. Alexander McDougaU 
died in June, 1786. He was a member of the New York senate at the 
time of his decease, one of the most fearless of politicians, witli original 
and intelligent views. Isaac Roosevelt succeeded him as President of 
the Bank of New York. The same month was marlved by the death of 
Nathaniel Greene, who next to Washington was esteemed one of the 
greatest generals America had as yet produced. He 'breathed out his 
valuable life at the beautiful plantation near Savannah which had been 
presented to him by the State of Georgia. 

Meanwhile there were many notable occasions for rejoicing. Both La- 
fayette and Washington were received witli august ceremonies by the city. 
Another great day was when John Jay returned from his successful Euro- 
pean mission, July 24, 1784. The mayor and corporation greeted him with 
an address of welcome, presenting the freedom of the city in a gold box. 

1 Oliver De Lancey, fifth son of Etierme De Lancey (bom in 1718, died in 1785), married 
Phila, daughter of Jacob Franks, of Philadelphia, in 1742. (See Vol. 1. 5-31, 532.) Their si.x 
children were : Stejihen, married Cornelia Barclay, afterwards Chief Justice of the Bahamas 
and Governor of Tobago ; Oliver, who succeeded Andre as Adjutant-General of the Brit- 
ish army ; Susanna, married General Sir William Draper ; Phila, married Stephen Payne 
G.alwey, counselor to the Governor of Antigua ; Anna, married John Harris Cruger ; and 
Charlotte, married Field Marshal Sir David Dundas, K. C. B. The only son of Stephen 
(elder son of Oliver) was Sir William Howe De Lancey, K. C. B., who was killed at the 
battle of Waterloo. The eldest daughter of Stephen, Susan De Lancey, married for her 
second husband Sir Hudson Lowe, Governor of St. Helena during the cajitivity of Napoleon 
the Great. Susanna, the sister of Oliver De Lancey, who married Sir Peter Warren (see 
Vol. L 586, 588), had three daughters : Anna, married (1758) Charh'S Fitzroy, first Baron 
Southampton ; Charlotte, married (1768) Willoughby Bertie, fourtli Earl of Abingdon ; 
Susanna, married William .Skinner of New Jersey, whose only cliilil, Susan Maria, married 
her cousin, Major-General Henry, third Viscount Gage. 


The utmost enthusiasm prevailed. He was caressed and feted. Every 
one delighted in doing him lionor. The whole city was briUiant with 
festivities. While upon the eve of sailing for home he had received a 
farewell letter from David Hartley, exceptionably interesting in this con- 
nection as an illustration of the good-will, respect, and confidence which 
our New York envoy commanded in Great Britain, in which occurs the 
following paragraph : — 

'• Your public and private conduct has impressed rue with unalterable esteem 
for you as a public and private friend ; ... if I shoulil not have the good 
fortune to see you again, I hope you wiU always think of me as eternally and 
unalterably attached to the principles of renewing and establishing the most 
intimate connection of amity and intercourse and alliance between our two 
countries. I presume that tlie subject of American iuterooiu-se will soon be 
renewed in Parliament, as the term of the present act approaches to its e.xpira- 
tion. The resumption of this subject iu Parliament will probably give ground 
to some specific negotiation — • you know my sentiments already. I thank you 
for your inquiries concerning my sister. She continues much in the same way 
as when you were at Bath — that is to say, as we hope in a fair way to final 
recovery, though very slowly. My brother is well, and joins with me in sincere 
good wishes to yourself and family, and to the renovation of all those ties of 
consanguinity and friendship which have for ages been interwoven between our 
respective countries."' 

Chancellor Robert R. Livingston wrote on the 30th from Clermont, 
congratulating Jay upon his safe return. Livingston had retired from 
his position as Secretary of Foreign Affairs in 1783, but Congress had 
not yet been able to fill his place satisfactorily. The responsible office 
was tendered to Jay ; and while the question of his acceptance was in 
abeyance, the legislature of New York appointed him one of its delegates 
to Congress, which convened in November at Trenton. Jay did not 
hesitate to pronounce the place of meeting inconvenient, and, fully aware 
of the necessity of secrecy in diplomatic affairs, was unwilling to assume 
the duties of state unless he could have the selection of his own clerks 
— appointments hitherto under the control of Congress. After consid- 
erable spirited discussion it was determined that New York City should 
be the future seat of Congress, to which place it removed on the 23d of 
December, 1784. Elbridge Gerry wrote to General Warren, under the 
same date: — 

"It is fortunate that we arrived liere as we did, for otherwise Congress 
would by this tune have been in Philadelphia, and the treasury in such hands 

1 David Hartley to John Jay, March 2, 1784. This letter, from among the private papers 
of Chief Justice Jay, and for which the author is iudehted to tlie courtesy of Hon. John Jay, 
is now for tlie first time published. 


as you and I could not approve. There was a stronger party formed against 
us than I remember to have seen, but I think it ^yill subside and matters be in 
a good train again. We have carried two great points to-day by passing an 
ordinance, tirst, to appoint three Commissioners to lay out a district on the 
branch of either side of the Delaware, within eight miles of this place, to pur- 
chase the soil and enter into contracts for erecting suitable buildings ; secondly, 
to adjourn to Xew York and reside there until suitable buildings are prepared. 
This I consider a fortunate affair in every respect but one. It is so disagreeable 
to our worthy secretary, that there is reason to apprehend he will resign his 
appointment. We have been so happy also as to remove some objections on the 
part of Mr. Jay to the acceptance of his office, and he yesterday took the oaths 
and entered on the business of his department." 

Thus the year 1785 dawned upou New York City as the capital of 
the nation. The corporation tendered Congress the use of the City Hall 
on Wall Street, together with such other public buildings as might be 
necessary for its accommodation. Bishop Provost was ajjpointed chap- 
lain, through the nomination of Walter Livingston. Foreign affairs 
■were organized by John Jay on a modest scale. But he found them 
peculiarly burdensome through the want of executive authority in the 
administration. His thoughts were at once directed towards altering the 
existing Constitution. " Untd this be done," he wrote on May 10, 1785, 
" the chain which holds us together will be too feeble to bear much oppo- 
sition or exertion, and we shall be daily mortified by seeing the links 
of it giving way and calling for repair, one after another." 

An interesting commercial event thrilled New York before the end of 
May. The ship Empress, the first vessel ever sent from the 
United States to China, returned to this port with flying colors. ^ 
An official account of the important voyage was at once communicated to 
Secretary Jay, which he laid before Congress. The respect with which 
the American flag had been treated by a people who had hitherto but 
confused ideas of the new republic, together with the successful estab- 
lishment of a direct trade with that distant empire, gave fresh impulse 
aud energy to every branch of industry, and opened new objects to all 

Spain by this time found it expedient to solicit the friendship of the 
United States. After signing the treaties in Paris, she had invited Jay 
to resume his negotiations at Madrid, which he declined ; and America 
had since shown no inclination to court her favor. But before Congress 
adjourned for the summer, a Spanish plenipotentiary arri\-ed, and Secre- 
tary Jay had the singular satisfaction of conducting him to the Congress 
chamber in Wall Street, and announcing him to the dignified body there 

Viji.. II. 19 


assembled. When his commission and letters of credence had been 
delivered and read, Don Diego Gardoqui addressed the president and 
members, standing inicovered while declaring the affection of his master, 
the King of Spain, for them, " his great and beloved friends." 

Full powers had been given to its ministers in Europe by Congress 
to treat with Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli. John Adams, still in 
Holland, had been actively studying the habits and forms of these African 
governments and their treaties. He was in Versailles, consulting Ver- 
gennes about money and presents — who said that "the Emperor of 
Morocco was the most interested man in the world, and the most greedy 
of money " — when news came that he had been elected to represent the 
United States at the Court of Great Britain. In reply to the felicitations 
of Vergennes, he said he did not know but it merited compassion rather 
than felicitation. " Ah, why ? " asked Vergennes, with astonishment. 
" Because, as you know, it is a species of degradation in the eyes of 
Europe, after having been accredited to the King of France, to be sent to 
any other court.' " But, permit me to say," continued Vergennes, " it is 
a great thing to he the first ambassador from your country to the country 
you .sprang from. It is a mark." The Duke of Dorset congratulated 
Adams, and told him he would " be stared at a great deal." Adams 
replied that he " trembled at the thought of going there ; and was afraid 
they would gaze with evil eyes." One of the foreign ambassadors, 
surprised to learn that Adams had never been in England but once, ex- 
claimed, " But you have relations there ? " " None at all," replied Adams. 
" None ! how can that be ? You are of English extraction ? " " Neither 
my father or mother, grandfather or grandmother, gi-eat-grandfather or 
great-grandmother, nor any other relation that I know of or care a 
farthing for, has been in England these hundred and fifty years ; so that 
you see I have not one drop of blood in my veins but what is American." 
" Ay, we have seen proof enough of that," answered the Minister. 

Before the end of May Adams was in London, where he was treated 
with distinguished consideration. The incidents of his first interview 
with George III. were faithfully published to the remotest ends of the 
civilized world. The king pronounced his address " extremely proper," 
and in reply said, " I wiU be very frank with you. I was the last to 
consent to the separation ; but, the separation having been made, and 
having become inevitable, I have always said, as I say noAv, that I would 
be the first to meet the friendship of the United States as an independent 
power." During the conversation which followed, the king asked Adams 
if he was just from France, and being answered in the affirmative, laugh- 
ingly remarked, " An opinion prevails among some people that you are 


not the most attached of all your coimtrymen to the manners of France." 
With graceful jiileasantry Adams admitted the truth of the speculation, 
saying, " I have no attachment but to my own country." " An honest 
man will never have any other," was the quick rejoinder of the king. 

Wall Street, notable lor having been the scene of many of the most 
significant and exciting events in American history, was not only where 
the first ambassador was chosen for Great Britain, and his instructions 
elaborately prepared by Secretary Jay of New York, but it was in a 
tumult of enthusiasm one chillv day late in the autumn of this 

•' Nov. 24. 

year, on the occasion of the reception by Congress of the first 
consul-general George III. to the United States, Sir John Temple, 
whose commission had been executed in February. Here, too, in the old 
historic City Hall, which was soon to Ije burnisiied anew, Thomas Jeffer- 
son was elected (March 10) jMini.ster to France, Franklin having earnestly 
asked permission to return to America, and John Eutledge was appointed 
to the Netherlands (July 5) in place of Adams ; here the grave ques- 
tions necessary for the dignified maintenance of the peace secured with 
the various nations of Europe were discussed daily ; here Secretary Jay 
met the offers of Spain in regard to the navigation of the Mississippi, 
with the offer to forbear navigating its waters below the southern 
boundary of the republic for a term of twenty or thirty years, while re- 
fusing to relinquish the right — which the Spanish Minister would not 
concede ; and here the remonstrance of Congress at what was deemed an 
infraction of the treaty, embodied in a memorial to the British Ministry, 
ilemanding the immediate removal of its garrisons frtmi uo less than 
seven specified military posts on the frontiers, was peimeil, and a secret 
act immediately passed, limited to one year, giving Secretary Jay dis- 
cretionary power to inspect letters in the post-office. The probable 
motive for this last extraordinary measure was to discover the nature 
of instructions sent from England to the commanders of the garrisons, 
but it is not known that the power was ever exercised. 

Congress elected Samuel Osgood, Walter Livingston, and John Lewis 
Gervais commissioners of the treasury. But the New York Legisla- 
ture repealed an act which granted the revenues of its port to the 
United States, and established a custom-house and a system of its own. 
Every effort to restore to Congress the disposition and control of this 
revenue proved rinsuccessfiil. The city was the great commercial mart 
of the Union ; and the collectors were appointed liv, and made amenable 
exclusively to, the State authorities. In 178(5 the legislature made the 
import duties payaVile to the bills of credit issued by the State. Congi-ess, 
perceiving the national credit more than ever endangered by this enact- 



ment, requested Governor Clinton to convene the legislature for its recon- 
sideration. He declined, upon the grouud that no sufficient cause was 
shown for the exercise of this extraordinary power, the decision having 
been recent and the result of mature deliberation. Shortly afterward 
a proposition to negotiate a loan in Europe was referred by Congress to 
Secretary Jay, who reported that it appeared to him improper to inaugu- 
rate any such proceeding, as the Federal government was rather paternal 
and persuasive, than coercive and efficient. " Congress," he said, " can 
make no certain dependence on the States for any specific sums, to be 
required and paid at any given periods, and consequently is not in a 
capacity safely to pledge its honor and faith as a borrower." Congress, 
indeed, had not even the power to regulate trade so as to counteract the un- 
■- ^. H - A-Avv ;w{«t,w,iuji i u-^ . 1 friendly regulations of other 

nations ; each State having 
reserved to itself the right of 
imposing, collecting, and ap- 
propriating duties on its own 

To add to the pecuniary 
embarrassments of the time, 
forged notes and counterfeit 
bills circulated to an alarm- 
ing extent, notwithstanding 
the severe penalties involved. 
William Stephens Smith, sec- 
retary of legation under 
Adams in London, had de- 
tected and arrested several 
persons in this employment 
wliile iu the execution of 
his office as commissioner to 
superintend the embarkation 
oi' loyalists from the port 
of New York. The sketch is 
the fac-simile of a curious 
relic preserved by Egbert 
Benson ; it was delivered into 

Specimen of Counterfeit Money. 

[Copied throuj^li tlit courtirby ot Mr. Rutjurt Benson 1 

court by the grand jury in May, 1787, with Viill against Mr. Field, the 
man who attempted to pass it, " knowingly." 

The first banking institution iu New York originated in the lirain of 
Alexander Hamilton, and commenced operations in 1784, under " articles 


of association," drawn l:>y Hamilton, who was a member of its first boanl 
of directors. Hamilton, as well as Gouverneur Morris, had materiall\- 
assisted Robert Morris in the establishment of the " Bank of North 
America " at Philadelphia, the first organized bank in tlu' United States, 
chartered December 31, 1781 ; and Hamilton had filled tlie office, for a 
considerable period, of receiver of the Continental taxes in the State of 
New Yoi'k, exerting himself the while to impress upon the legislatnre the 
importance of his favorite financial ideas concerning a national bank. 
The " Bank of Xew York " was not, however, chartered until May 21, ITlJl. 

" It takes time to make sovei-eigns of subjects," wrote Jay to Jefferson 
in the autumn of 1785. The pressure of a common danger having been 
removed, the defects of tlie existing confederation were actually menacing 
the country with ruin. The loyalists were exultant, and said the Ameri- 
cans had found " their idol, theii- phantom, independency, a mere ignis 
fatuus," in short, that they were incapable of governing themselves. It 
was clear that one body of men, daily changing its members, could never 
manage the three great departments of sovereignty — ^legislative, judicial, 
and executive — with convenience or effect. Obstacles of a startling 
character interposed to prevent the execution of the treaty, and there 
were symptoms of uneasiness among the Indians, and rumors of secret 
preparations in Canada, as if for another war. Congress discovered, upon 
investigation, that laws enacted by at least five of the States, of wiiich 
New York was one, restrained the collection of debts due to British sub- 
jects, in manifest violation of the treaty ; and it called upon them to 
repeal such acts, but had no authority to compel acquiescence. 

Affairs were approaching a crisis. Meanwhile a convention, proposed 
by James Madison in the legislature of Virginia, to consider the expedi- 
ency of a uniform system of commercial regulations, was held at Annapolis. 
Delegates were present from five States, Virginia, Delaware, Penn- 1786. 
sylvania, New Jersey, and New York. Alexander Hamilton, wlio sept. 
had recently attacked the problem of self-government with tlie keen in- 
stincts of a veteran, represented New York. Nothing of importance was 
accomplished by this assemblage except a recommendation to Congress, 
M'hieli resulted in the appointment of delegates to meet in Philadelphia 
tlie following ilay, for the sole ami express purpose of revising the articles 
of confederation. 

Richard Henry Lee was president of Congress in 1785, and Charles 
Thompson secretary. To the latter we owe the careful preservation of 
the journals of Congress through the stormy period. He was the sole 
secretary from 1774 to 1789, and made two copies of the records with his 
own hand. His life was singularly noble and upright, and his devotion 


U> tlie interests of the nation in its infancy deserving of immortal honor. 
He was a classical scholar as well as a cultivated gentleman, and the 
friend of all the great men of his time. President Lee entertained guests 
three times a week, but never invited ladies, having none at his own 
house ; John Quincy Adams enjoyed his hospitality during a visit to 
New YorJc in the hot summer of 1785, and writing to his sister in Lon- 
don of the duties of the presidential office, said, " He is obliged, in this 
weather, to sit in Congress from eleven in the morning until four in the 
afternoon, the warmest and most disagreeable j^art of the day. It was 
expected that Congress would adjourn during the dog-days, at least, but 
they have so much business that a recess, however short, would leave 
them behindhand." 

John Quincy Adams, then eighteen, had just returned from Europe 
to complete his education at Harvard College. He had accompanied 
his father to Holland and France, and served as private secretary to 
Francis Dana, who from his secretaryship with John Adams was sent 
as plenipotentiaiy to Russia in 1781. Young Adams was the recipient 
of many civilities in New York. He tlined with Secretary Jay, with 
Theodore Sedgwick, and with Governor George Clinton; breakfasted with 
Elbridge Gerry, who married Miss Thompson of New York ; and wrote 
to his sister of taking tea, July 20, with David Ramsey, the historian 
and author from South Carolina, where he met the Spanish Minister, and 
also Van Berckel, the first Dutch Minister to the United States. He 
visited Eufus King, member of Congress from New England, who 
married, in 1786, Mary, the only daughter of John Alsop, and made New 
York his permanent residence. " I am pleased with these intermarriages," 
wrote Secretary Jay to John Adams, in May of the last-named year ; 
" they tend to assimilate the States, and to promote one of the first 
wishes of my heart, to see the people of America liecome one nation in 
every respect." John Adams upon receipt of the intelligence, imme- 
diately wrote a letter of congratulation to Mr. King, in which he said, 
" Your marriage, as well as that of Mr Gerry, gives me the more pleasure, 
probably, as a good work of the same kind, for connecting Massachusetts 
and New York in the bonds of love, was going on here " ; and proceeds 
to announce the marriage of his daughter Abigail to William Stephens 
Smith of New York, the ceremony having just been performed in London 
by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Asaph. 

Secretary and Mrs. Knox gave an elegant dinner at their residence 
four miles out of the city, at which John Quincy Adams met several 
celebrities. He described Lady Kitty Duer, the daughter of Lord Stir- 
ling, who was present, as "neither young nor handsome"; "but," writes 



Griswold at a later date, "she would not have beau thought old by a 
mau over eighteen, and she had been, if she was not then, one of tlie 
sweetest looking women in New York City." The accompanying p(jr- 
trait, copied from an exquisite miniature-painting, executed not far from 
the same date, possesses exceptional interest, from the fact that Lady Duer 
was a genuine New-Yorker, descended from the famous James Alexander, 
and the first De Peyster of New York, and through her mother from tlie 
Livingstons and Schuylers, and was herself the mother of two of New 
York's great jurists and men of 
letters, William Alexander Duer, 
President of Columliia College, and 
Judge John Duer. Young Adams 
visited the Smith family, at Ja- 
maica, Long Island, into which 
his sister was about to marry, and 
writes of six daughters, saying, 
" Sally strikes most at first sight ; 
she is tall, has a very fine shape, 
and a vast deal of vivacity in her 
eyes, which are of a light blue. She 
has the ease and elegance of the 
French ladies, without their lo- 
quacity." She afterwards married 
Charles Adams, the brother of John 
Quincy Adams. 

While the social and business as- 
pects of the city were ])rightened 
by the presence of Congress, the 
loyalist controversy increased in bitterness. Attempts to recover con- 
fiscated property were vigorously upheld l)y one party and rancorously 
opposed by the other. Alexander Hamilton never wavered in his ef- 
forts to soften the malice of those who would place the adherents to the 
Crown beyond the pale of human sympathy. The magnanimous General 
Philip Schuj'ler liattled, in the New York senate, for moderation and 
mercy. William Samuel Johnson, who had himself been imprisoned by 
his neighbors in Stratford, Connecticut, in the summer of 1779, on sus- 
picion of friendship for the enemy while making use of his personal 
♦acquaintance with Tryon to prevent the burning of the town, was in Con- 
gress, and exerted a powerful influence in New York towards harnionizin- 
conflicting interests. But the iiate and passions of the hour pre\-ailed. 
The effects of a bloody war could not be obliterated in one decade. IMeu 

Lady Kitty Duer. 

[From a miniature painting.J 
[Copied througli t!ie courtesy of William Belts, Esq.) 


who had sufiered were inexorable. The laws which were by many 
pronounced vindictive remained unrepealed. Under an " Act for the 
■speedy sale of the confiscated and forfeited estates," passed by the Legis- 
lature of New York, May 12, 1784, the city estate of James De Lancey, 
eldest son of Lieutenant-Governor James De Lancey, was sold in lots, for 
$234,198.75. This vast property, in the neighborhood of Grand Street, 
had a water-front of over a mile on the East Eiver. The purchasers were 
former tenants of De Lancey, citizens, and speculators. Its assessed real 
value at the present day is upwards of sixty-three millions of dollars.^ 

James De Lancey was on one of his accustomed summer visits to 
England when the war began, and, unwilling to take up arms against his 
native land, he did not return to New York. As the prospect darkened 
he sent for his family. His wife, whom he married in 1771, was Alarga- 
ret, daughter of Chief Justice William Allen of I'ennsylvauia, and grand- 
daughter of the celebrated lawyer, Andrew Hamilton.^ Her sister Ann 
was the wife of Governor John Penn;^ her brother James married 
Elizabeth Lawrence, and their daughter Mary wedded (in 1796) Henry 
Walter Livingston, of Livingston Manor,* and was known as "Lady Mary" 
in New York society, where for up\\'ards of half a century she was famed 
for her graceful and profuse hospitality, and esteemed one of the most 
lovely characters of her time. The De Lanceys were the strongest and 
most conspicuous loyalists of the Revolution, as the Livingstons were 
leaders in the of xVmerica. The L)e Lanceys were an extensive as 
well as a powerful family, held posts of honor under the Crown, were 
men of enormous wealth, of which one instance has been given above, 
and were active, high-spirited, and brave to a fault. Their attachment 
to the Crown was peculiar from the fact that the race was a mixture of 
Dutch and French blood without any English alloy. 

The feud, long-fed and well-fanned, between the De Lanceys and the 
Livingstons, which the reader will remember covered the period of nearly 
a quarter of a century prior to the Revolution, burned fiercely at this 
juncture from a thousand directions. Little llames illumined the Nova 
Scotia skies, shot across the Canadian boundaries, lighted the dreary 

' See map of De Lancey's estate, Vol. I. 616. "Abstract of Sales," with purchasers' 
uames and prices paiil, may be foimJ in De Lancetj's Notes to Jones's History of New York in 
the Revolution, Vol. II. 540 -559. 

- See portrait of Andrew Hamilton, Vol. I. 551. 

^ A fine painting by Benjamin West is preserved among Chief Justice Allen's descendants, 
which represents a family fete in the grounds of Governor John Penn, at his seat on the 
Schuylkill, Philadel]>hia, the site of the Centennial E.xposition of 1876, which contains por- 
traits of Penn and his wife, of all the Allen family, and of West himself — who said "he 
never executed a better painting." 

* See sketch of Livingston manor-liouse, built by Henry Walter Livingston, Vol. L 320. 


coasts of Xewfoundland, rageil under the tropical suu of the Bahamas aud 
tlie Bermudas, and sent forth a lurid glare from England, Scotland, and 
Ireland. Each party endea\-oreil ti^> blacken the character of the other by 
every known means. Attaclied to both, as in all civil wars, were persons 
whose crimes against humanity deserved swift pimi.shmeut. Instances 
were innumerable where such escaped, aud men of candor, veracitv. and 
honor Ixire the obloquy. If the termination of the war could liave been 
followed with an oblivion of its offenses, New York would lia\'e been 
spared years of internal agitation. James De Lancey was the agent ol 
the committee of loyalists chosen from each State to obtain compensation 
from the English government for losses " sustained by the faithful subjects 
of the Crown during the late unhappy dissensions in America." In 1788 
he drafted a formal address to the commission organized under the four 
several acts of Parliament, passed in the years 1783, 17S5, 1786, and 
1787, for investigation into the merits of each particular claim, with a 
petition to Parliament for information " concerning the general rules and 
principles adopted in pushing inquiries so interesting to the public." 
Five years' weary working for the liquidation of claims in England, 
amounting to many millions, was not calculated to soften anger towards 
kinsmen and countrymen who had been instrumental in enacting cou- 
tiscation laws in America. These were denounced as jjartial, unjust, 
malicious, and avaricious. England ai.lmitted the wrong perpetrated 
upon the colonies. But the loyalists, wounded upon all sides, were ap- 
parently beyond the pale of healing influences. Of the seven sons of 
Peter De Lancey of Westchester, James, before the war high sheriff of the 
county, was the famous commander of the " Cow Boys," ami retired to 
Nova Scotia, where he was appointed counselor to the governor. It is 
said that when he turned his l.iack forever upon his large possessions in 
the beautiful valle\' of the Bron.\ his iron heart was torn with emotion 
and he wept aloud. His brother Oliver, next younger than himself, was 
a lieutenant in the British navy, ^hich position he resigned because he 
would not fight against his native land. Of tlieir five sisters, Anne was 
the wife of John Co.x, of Philadelphia ; Alice was Mrs. Ealpli Izard ; Jane 
was Mrs. John Watts; and Susanna was Mrs. Tliomas Barclay — the 
mother of six sons, Henry, De Lancey, Thomas, George, Sir Anthony, and 
Beverley Barclay, and of four daughters afterwards prominent in society, 
Mrs. Schuyler Livingston, Mrs. Simon Eraser, Mrs. Peter G. Stuyvesant, 
and Mrs. William H. Parsons. 

John Peter, fourth and youngest son of Lieutenant-Governor De Lancey 
— whose .son, William Heathcote De Lancey. was tlie first Bishop of West- 
ern Xew York — the brother of James in London, and of Mrs. Judge 



Thomas Jones and Mrs. William Walton, of New York,i had received a 
military education in England, and been four years in the regular British 
army at the conunencement of the war ; he was then twenty-two years 
of age. He returned to America in 1789, having received the Heathcote 
estate of his mother at Scarsdale, and a small portion of the estate of his 
father in New York.' 

The Livingstons were even more numerous than the De Lanceys, with 
hardly less wealth. They were in power, which inspired anything but 
love in the breasts of their conquered adversaries. They divided the 
control of the river counties with the Van Eensselaers and Schuylers, 
whose great manorial estates lay to the north of their own, and were 
leaders in commerce and law as well as agriculture. At least nine prom- 
inent men at. this date, of national celebrity, bore the name of Livings- 
ton. They were of distinguished Scotch lineage, with a proved pedigree 
of at least seven hundred years, with plenty of republican Dutch blood 
handed along through intermarriages with the Schuylers, Beekmans, and 
other Holland families of colonial New York. And besides the Livings- 
tons themselves, many public men of influence had married Livingston 
wives, not least among whom were John Jay, Secretary of Foreign 
Affairs, and James Duane, Mayor of the city. 

It has been sagely remarked that " an intimate knowledge of the do- 
mestic history of nations is absolutely necessary to the prognosis of 
political events." It is certain that no correct understanding of the 
nature of political parties in early New York can be obtained without 
carefully observing the endless ramifications of kinship. Those who have 
in former pages traced the great family quarrrel of the De Lanceys and Liv- 
insstous until mersed in the Eevolution, can now see it color the whole 
loyalist controversy ; aqd its results are to be felt for many a long year. 
In no other State had the war made such a division in families as in 
New York. Two of the Van J^ Cortlandts, cousins, fought 

on opposite sides. General ^^ Philip Schuyler was the first 

cousin of General Oii\-er _J^ ^ De Lancey, their mothers 

being sisters ; he bore also yfe^-^^^^^^ the same relationship to the 
wife of Counselor John y/^1 ^1 Vl Watts, whose daughter was 

1 Tlie Waltons were among the 
before and after the EevoUition ; 
contest. See Vol. I. 684, 685, 686. 
through a full century. The family 
VcT'planeks, De Lanceys, Cniger.s, 
nelia Beekman Walton, daughter 

great merchants of New York both 
they endeavored to be neutral in the 
The name William was carried 
intermarried with the Beekmans, 
Ogdens, and Morrises. Mrs. Cor- 
of Dr. William Beekman, a lady 

greatly beloved, who had lived in New Jersey during the war, died at the " Old Walton 

House " on Franklin Square in 1786. 

Walton Arms. 


the wife of Sir John Johnson. The De Pej'sters, who, like tlio De Lan- 
cers, were chiefly hiyalists, had intermarried with the A''an Cortlandts in 
nearly ever}' generation. And the mother of John Jay was a Van Cort- 
landt. There was never a more curious mixture of conflicting interests 
than agitated New York through the remainder of the century ; sharp 
denunciation, rancorous abuse, heart-burnings, and maledictions, rather 
than the memory of gallant deeds and heroic sacrifices, long survived 
the shock of armies. 

The lawyers of the city were full of business. Tliey were mostly men 
of promise, eminence, and conspicuous talents. The community inevita- 
bly measured every candidate for a professional career, and the unlearned 
or mediocre aspirant stood at fatal disadvantage. Hamilton had com- 
menced practice at the bar, and already demonstrated to the woi'ld that 
he was a great lawyer. Aaron Burr, small of stature, with gigantic am- 
bition, cool, wary, artificial, and imposing of manner, in his arguments 
curt and severe, confining himself invariably to a few strong and promi- 
nent points, rarely lost a case. Melancthon Smith was in the high tide 
of a successful practice. Also Egbert Benson, who was more pro- 
foundly versed in the principles of philosophy upon which the law rests, 
and in technical iuformatioli, than any other lawyer of the period. 
James Kent, afterwards chancellor, son of Moss Kent, surrogate of Eens- 
selaer County, was a student in p]enson's office ; he was first admitted to 
the Imr in 1787, and soon acc[uired habits of vast industry and method, 
and a taste for literary labor. John Sloss Hobart had been elected one 
of the three justices of the Supreme Court ; he was nearly fifty, with 
perhaps no sjjecial distinguishing trait, but possessing an assemblage of 
qualities which gave him great influence. Samuel Jones, the elder, styled 
the " father of the New York bar," had been an ardent loyalist, and sub- 
sequently was appointed Recorder of the city and then Comptroller of 
the State. Brockholst Livingston, the brother-in-law of John Jay, was 
admitted to the bar in 1783, at the age of twenty-seven, and was one of 
the most accomplished scholars, able advocates, and fluent speakers of his 
time in the city — but violent in his political feelings and conduct. 
Edward Livingston, youngest brother of the chancellor, who subse- 
quently acquired world-wide reputation as a jurist, commenced practice 
in 1785, at the age of twenty-one. Morgan Lewis, whose wife was 
sister to the latter, soon became attorney-general of the State — in 1791 
— and two years later chief justice of New York. Richard Morris was 
the present chief justice, having succeeded John Jay in 1779 ; he filled 
the office until 1790, when, being sixty years of age, he retired, and 
Robert Yates was appointed in his stead. John Cozine and Robert 



Troup were both able lawyers, and men of mucli general information ; 
Cozine is described as good-humored and amiable, inclined to indolence, 
corpulence, and bigh living. Josiah Ogden Hofi'mau was younger, but 
rose quickly to distinction. His forte was in the examination of wit- 
nesses and tlie management of juries. John Lawrence, John Eutherford, 
and John McKesson were among the legal luminaries of the time. 
Also Jacob Morton, Robert Benson, John Watts, Jr., William Wickbam, 
and Daniel Crommelin Verplauck ; the latter was a young man of 

His uncle, Gulian Verplanck, third president of the Bank of New York 
— appointed in 1790 — was a merchant of excellent parts, and a man of 
many accomplishments ; he was one of the early graduates from Colum- 
bia College, and received in Holland his mercantile training.^ His city 
residence was in Pearl Street, although he subsequently erected a line 
mansion in Wall Street. 

' Daniel Crommelin Verplanck, born in 1762, was tn ice married. His first wife, Eliza- 
Tjctli, daughter of President William Samuel Jobnson of ('oUimliia College, mother of Gulian 
C. Verplanck, died in 1789, at the age of twenty-four. His second wife was Ann, only 
daughter of William and Ann De Lancey Walton ; their children were Mary Ann, Louisa, 
Sanmel, Elizabeth, William Walton, James De Lancey, and Anna Louisa. His father. 

Samuel Verplanck, born 1739, died 
students, the first class graduating 
1758 ; and being sent to his uncle, 
a mercantile education, married, 
inelin. The father of Samuel was 
1751, the great-grandson of the 
married Mary, daughter of Charles 
The Sinclair family descended 
Lords Sinclair of Scotland. Ann 
lied Gabriel Ludlow, and Mary 
Charles McEvers of New York. 
Samuel Verplanck, was Speaker 
1796 ; and from 1790 until his 

1820, was first on the list of eight 
from Kings (Columbia) -College, in 
Daniel Crommelin, in Holland, for 
in 1761, his cousin, Judith Crom- 
Gulian Verplanck, born 1698, died 
fiist of the name in New York ; he 
and Anna Sinclair Crommelin. 
from the Earls of Orkney, and 
Verplanck, sister of Samuel, inar- 
Verplanck, a second sister, married 
Gulian, the youngest brother of 
of the Assembly in 1791, and in 
death was one of the Regents of 

Verplanck Arms. 

the University of the State of New York. Daniel Crommelin Verplanck was member of 
Congress from 1802 to 1809, and Judge of Common Pleas in Dutchess County until 1828. 
A sketch of his son, Gulian C. Verplanck, born 1786, died 1870, a graduate of Columbia 
College in 1801, w'ill appear upon a future page. 
■•! See Vol. L 741. 



1787 - 1790. 


Wall Stiiekt is 1787. — DiPLOM.\ric ENTF.r.T.itXMEXT.s. —Social Affaiiis at riiE Capi- 

The Doctors' Mob. — Rk.sidexoe.s. — The two Political Pauties in New York. — 
Alexander Hamilton. —The Insuruection in M.4.ssachusetts. — Representative 
Men of the Convention. —The Federal Principle. — Framing the CoN.sTiTunoN. 

— gouverneur jiorris. — tlie adoption of the constitution by the states. — 
Action of New York. — The Celebration. — New York City. — Federal 
Hall in Wall Street. — The Presidential Residence. — Postmaster-General 
Osgood. — The Election of a President. — The First under the Con- 
stitution. — Ap.rival of Washington in New York City. — The Inauguration. 

— The First Cabinet. — The Inauguration Ball. — The Festivities of the 
Capital. — Social Celebrities. — Members of Congress. — Progress of the City. 

THE city received a sudden, .strong, healthful, forward ini])etus in 
the spring of 1787, through large acces.sions to its population. 
Every dwelling-house was occupied. Rents went up, douliliug in some 
instances ; fresh paint and new .shutters and wings transformed old tene- 
ments, and carpenters and masons found ready employment in erecting 
new structures. The streets were cleaned and pavements mended. New 
business firms were organized and old warehouses remodeled ; the mar- 
kets were extended and bountifully supplied, and stores bhissomed with 
fashionable goods. Wall Street, tlie great centre of interest and of 
fashion, presented a brilliant scene every bright afternoon. Ladies in 
showy costumes, and gentlemen in silks, satins, and velvet, of many colors, 
promenaded in front of the City Hall — where Congress was holding its 
se.ssions. At the same time Broadway, from St. Paul's Chapel to the 
Battery, was animated with stylish equipages, tilled with pleasure- 
seekers who never tired of the life-giving, invigorating, perennial sea- 
breeze, or the unparalleled beauty of the view, stretching off across the 
varied waters of New York Bay. 

The social world was kept in perpetual agitation through di.stinguislied 


arrivals t'njni various parts of tlie United States, and from Euroj)e. Din- 
ners and balls were daily occurrences. Secretary and Mrs. Jay entertained 
with graceful ease, gathering about them all that was most illustrious in 
statesmanship and letters ; they usually gave one ceremonious dinner 
every week, sometimes two. Their drawing-rooms were also thronged 
on Thursdays, Mrs. Jay's day " at home " ; and evening parties were 
given at frequent intervals. The manners of Secretary Jay were de- 
scribed by Europeans as affable and unassuming ; and his purity and 
nobilitj^ of character impressed the whole world in his favor. He dressed 
in simple black, wearing his hair slightly powdered and tied in the back. 
His complexion was without color. His eyes were dark and penetrating, 
as if the play of thought never ceased, but the general expression of his 
face was singularly amiable and tranquil. Mrs. Jay was admirably fitted, 
through her long residence in the Spanish and French capitals, and her 
own personal and intellectual accomplishments, for the distinguished 
position of leader of society in the American capital. She dressed richly, 
and in good taste, and observed the most rigid formalities in her inter- 
course with the representatives of foreign nations. 

l^othing better illustrates the spirit and character of this formative 
period tlian the movements in its polite and every-day life. But a mere 
glimpse must suftice. The infant Eepublic was interesting, and vastly 
promising, while it had not yet learned to walk. Its capital was the 
seat of a floating community composed of the most diverse elements. 
Curiosity, criticism, and cavil were in the air. The importance attached 
to the doing of national hospitalities in the Old World, could not be 
ignored in the New. Eutertaiuments were something more than mere 
profitless amusements ; then, as before and since, they were strong links 
in the chain which binds nations together. 

The Secretary of War and Mrs. Knox lived in a large house and gave 
munificent banquets. Mrs. Knox was celebrated for her brilliancy in 
conversation and unfailing good-humor ; she had the tact and talent to 
convert her home into a resort of the intellectual and cultivated, as well 
as the diplomatic and fashionable. Sir John Temple made it a point to 
call upon every stranger of note immediately upon his arri\al in Nbw 
York ; Lady Temple was the daughter of Governor Bowdoin, of Massa- 
chusetts, and, according to the writers of the day, " very distinguished- 
looking, and agreeable " ; she received guests every Tuesday evening, and 
gave dinners, notable for their costliness, nearly every week to twenty or 
more guests. Miss Van Berckel assisted her father, the Dutch ambassa- 
dor, in dispensing hospitalities. Otto, of the French legation, afterwards 
Comte de Mosloy, married twice in New York, first Livingston 


in 1782, and, after lier death, Miss Crevecfeur, in 1790, daughter of 
the French consul ; he is said to have possessed charming social qual- 
ities. The Marquis de Moustier arrived in 1787, accompanied by his 
sister, Madame de Brehan, a clever woman who wrote with spirit and 
had some skill as an artist, " but with," according to Abigail Adams 
Smitli, "the oddest figure eyes ever beheld." John Armstrong — soldier, 
statesman, and author — wrote about the same time : " We have a French 
minister now with us, and if France had wished to destroy the little 
remembrance that is left of her and her exertions in our behalf, she 
would have .sent just such a man — distant, haughty, penurious, and 
entirely governed by the caprices of a little, singular, whimsical, hysteri- 
cal old woman, whose delight is in playing with a negro child and caress- 
ing a monkey." 

The mother of Chancellor Livingston returned with her i'amily to the 
city from Clermont, residing at 51 Queen Street — now Pearl — a little 
above Wall Street. Her daughters were highly Ijred and educated, well 
versed in public affairs, and fond of discussing the grave questions of the 
liour. Her drawing-rooms were the center of attraction lor a refined and 
cultured circle, including many French dignitaries. It was not unusual 
for articles upon finance, politics, diplomacy, and religion, to be read there 
])y their autliors before publication. The younger ladies and some of 
their more haliitual guests often played whist • — a game not interdicted 
by the mistress of the household, but wliich in deference to her religious 
tastes was never commenced until she retired from the parlors. John 
Armstrong married Aliila, tlie youngest daughter of Mrs. Livingston, in 
1789. It is related of Mrs. Montgomery, the eldest daughter, that on 
one occasion, after entertaining a guest of the heavy sort, she expressed 
relief at his departure with an audible sigh. A bright little niece ex- 
claimed, " Why, aunty, you have not much patience witli dull people ' " 
"Ah, no, my dear!" site replied, " I have never been used to them." 

liufus King was described by Brissot de Warville as thirty-three, and 
passing " for the most eloquent man in the United States," but so modest 
that " he appeared ignorant of his own worth." His young bride was 
remarkable for personal beauty — face oval, with a clear, brunette com- 
plexion, delicately formed features, expressive blue eyes, black hair, and 
exquisite teeth ; " her motions were all grace, her bearing gracious, her 
voice musical, and her education exceptional." They resided with her 
fathei', John Alsop, near the corner of Maiden Lane and William Street. 
Colonel William and Lady Kitty Duer had taken up their abode in 
liroadway, nearly opposite St. Paul's Chapel. The latter, and her sister, 
Lady Mary Watts, often a.ssisted their cousin, Mrs. Jay, in receiving 


guests. Kitty Livingston, JNIrs. Jay's sister, was married in April of tliis 
year to Matthew Ridley, of Baltimore ; Susan, the elder sister, having 
married John Cleve Symmes, a member of Congress, was residing in New 
York ; two younger sisters were also in society, althougli their home was 
still at " Liberty Hall," in Elizabeth. The governor, in apologizing to a 
friend in March for his penmanship, said : " My principal secretary of state, 
who is one of my daughters, has gone to New York to shake her heels 
at the balls and assemblages of a metropolis, which might better be more 
studious of paying its taxes, than of instituting expensive diversions." 

General ]\Iattliew Clarkson had recently married Mary, tlie daughter 
of Walter Rutherford. Tiie young and pretty wife of Richard Varick 
was the daughter of Isaac and Cornelia Hoffman Roosevelt ; and her 
sister Cornelia had, within a year, married Dr. Benjamin Kissam, the 
recently appointed Profe.ssor of the Institute of Medicine in Columbia 
College. Mrs. James Beekman presided once more over her Ijeautiful 
home on the East River, which had so long been occupied by British celeb- 
rities.^ Upon the return of the Beekman family from their seven years' 
exile, costly treasures in the way of silver and china ware which they buried 
under the greenhouse before their departure were exluimed uninjured.^ 
Two exquisite statuettes in rare old Chelsea, thus preserved in the earth, 
and numerous pieces of ancestral table-ware — gems of beauty — are in 
possession of the descendants. Mrs. Beekman had the genius to aid her 
husband in book-keeping while he was striving to retrieve his impaired 
fortunes ; and she sustained her part in the social kingdom of the capi- 
tal with distinguished effect. 

Nearly all the clerical characters of the period were men of profound 
learning. They mingled with the youth and beauty of the capital at 
official dinners and at private parties. Bishop Provost was deeply versed 
in classical lore, in ecclesiastical history, and in the natural and physical 
sciences. He conversed with ease and pleasantry, and was ever a wel- 
come guest, as was also Mrs. Provost.^ Governor George Clinton occu- 
pied the mansion of Henry White, in Pearl Street, property sold under 
the confiscation act in 1786 ; the same year Mr. White died in Golden 
Square, London. His widow, Eve Van Cortlandt White, resided with her 

1 See sketch of Beekman man.sion, Vol. I. 569 ; Mrs. Beekman, I. 759, II. 188. 

2 This greenhouse was the first upon Manhattan Island. Lemon-trees bore fruit uniler- 
neath its roof of glass before the war ; in the s\imnier of 1776 Washington and his staff were 
treated to lemonade made from lemons picked from the trees in their jiresence. 

3 Kev. Samuel Provost, Bishop of New York from 1786 to 1801, consecrated at Lambeth, 
England, was the son of .John Provost and Eve, daughter of Harnianus Rutgers, and grandson 
ol' Samuid Provost and Maria Sprat, granddaughter of the first De Peyster in New York. 
He was born March 11, 1742, and died September 6, 1813. — Ha/dane's Ms. Gen. CoU. 


daughters, conspicuous belles in New York society, at 11 Broadway, the 
homestead inherited from her father, until her death in 1836. Slie was 
a lady of great wealth. The Bayards and the Ludlows remained in the 
city ; also many other loyalist families. The Misses Bayard were among 
the New York social beauties mentioned by a French writer. 

Dr. John Charlton, an English surgeon who had been much at the 
court of George III., coming to New York with the Britisli army, married 
Mary De Peyster, daugliter of Treasurer Abraham and Margaret Van 
Cortlandt De Peyster, and settled in the city ; he was a short, stout man 
of florid complexion, fond of riding on horseback, and practi.sed medicine 
principally among his family connections. The oldest and most eminent 
physician of the time was Dr. John Bard, one of the founders of the New 
York Hospital. He was seventy-three, a Huguenot by descent, and noted 
for his skill and learning scarcely less than for his extreme urbanity of 
manner. He usually wore a red coat and a cocked hat, and carried a 
gold-headed cane ; he drove aliout the city in a low pony phaeton, accom- 
panied by a faithful negro almost as venerable as himself Frank Van 
Berokel, the sou of the Dutch Minister, drove in a high phaeton, and a 
caricature print was issued representing the aged doctor in his little 
vehicle, passing under the bod}- and between the wheels of the gay young 
Dutchman's elevated ecjuipage without touching. It is said no one 
relished the humor of the illustration more than Dr. Bard himself In 
1788 he became the first president of the New York Medical Society. 
His son. Dr. Samuel Bard, who studied medicine in Edinburgh, and 
married his cousin, Mary Bard, organized the first medical school in con- 
nection with Kings College^ and took the chair of physic in 1769, subse- 
quently becoming dean of the faculty. He succeeded to his father's 
practice, and when Washington was inaugurated President, became his 
family pliysician ; and he attained greater eminence than any of his 
predecessors. Dr. John Cochrane stood next to Dr. Bard in seniority, 
having achieved so high a reputation during the war that he enjoyed a 
wide patronage among the citizens of New York City. His home in 
Broadway was the hospitable centre of a large circle of Schuyler and 
Livingston relatives, and it was where the prominent generals of the army 
were entertained in the most princely manner. Dr. Thomas Jones, a 
man of fortune who had married a Livingston, was perhaps more enunent 
as a politician than physician, but in either field was distinguished as a 
scholar and a gentleman. He was a lirother of Dr. John Jones of Phila- 
delphia. Dr. Kissam and Dr. ilcKnight both held professorships in the 
college, as before mentioned; the latter was the best surgeon of his day, 
besides having an extensive family practice. 
VOL. II. 20 



The City Hospital, between Duane and Anthony Streets, upon the west 
side of Broadway, which had been projected belbre the war, and the 
edifice completed in time to be converted into a barrack for the reception 
of troops in 1776, stood unrepaired, and unused for the purposes of a 
hospital, until January 3, 1791, when it was opened for the admission of 
eighteen patients, and began its great work. The accompanying sketch 
illustrates its appearance about the beginning of the present century. 
The Society of Governors, established in 1771, meanwhile, simply pre- 
served its corporate existence by holding annual elections ; in the sum- 
mer of 1785, some destitute Scotch emigrants were allowed to use the 
vacant building as a place of shelter for a few weeks ; the following win- 
ter Dr. Richard Bailey obtained permission to occupy one or two rooms 

The City Hospital. 

[From a rare okl print. iie\tr before reproduced.J 

for anatomical lectures. Subsequently the legislature of the State were 
allowed to fit up some rooms for their accommodation during a particular 
session. The next year Dr. Bailey operated upon a patient in one of the 
rooms he had used for his lectures, and finding him unfit to be removed, 
was allowed to attend him there until he recovered. 

Suddenly the doctors and their anatomies came to grief The public 
mind had been startled during the winter by rumors that dead bodies 
had been stolen by the medical students from the different cemeteries of 
the city. On Sunday morning, April 13, 178S, some meddling boys 
playing about the building were impelled to climb a ladder, which had 
been left resting against one of the walls by a workman the day before, 
and peeped through the window to see what was going on within. A 


youog surgeon, busy upon a subject iu the dissecting-room, greeted the 
foremost inc^uisitive youngster with the tlourish of an arm — not his own 
— and the boy tied with the news to his father, a mason," who repeated 
the story to his comrades, and, seizing such tools of their trade as would 
best serve them as weapons, they started iu a body for the hospital. Their 
force increased as they advanced, and the whole city was in a wild tumult. 
The hospital was surrounded, the doors burst in, several subjects were 
discovered, antl a collection of anatomical specimens destroyed. The 
doctors took refuge in the jail, where they were with difficulty protected 
by the hastily summoued militia. The mob swore vengeance upon all 
the doctors of the city, and started for the house of Dr. Cochrane, which 
they ransacked from cellar to garret in search of subjects. They omitted 
to open the scuttle and look out upon the roof, or they would have dis- 
covered Dr. Hicks, of whom they were in hot pursuit, snugly hiding be- 
hind the chimney. In the height of the frenzy they passed the house of 
Sir John Temple, and mistaking the name of Sir John tor " surgeon," 
attacked it furiously, and were just barely restrained from leveling it 
with the ground. 

As night approached the ranks of the rioters were thinned, and it was 
hoped the trouble had ended. But small bands patrolled the streets, 
and in the morning the mob was greater than ever, having been joined by 
sailors from vessels in the harbor ; and it proceeded at once to storm the 
jail, breaking the windows, tearing down the fences, and threatening to 
drag the doctors out and hang them. Governor Clinton, Mayor Duane, 
Secretary Jay, Baron Steuben, Hamilton, and other prominent citizens 
endeavored to appease the popular fury, but in vain. Jay, in driving to 
the scene, was severely wounded in the head from a stone thrown through 
the glass of his chariot. The mayor hesitated to give the order to fire 
upon the mob ; Baron Steuben, in the benevolence of his heart, was re- 
monstrating with the governor against attempting to quell the riot with 
fire-arms, when he was hit in the forehead with a brick-bat, and fell 
bleeding to the pavement, crying loudly, " Fire, governor, iire 1 " The sol- 
diers did fire, and five persons were killed and seven or eight Viadly 
wounded ; upon which the crowd fled. Steuben was earned to Duer's 
house, and there being no surgeon at hand, and none daring to show 
themselves. Lady Kitty stanched his wound and bound up his head. 

The site of the hospital was a five-acre lot purchased from the Rutgers 
estate. The marshes in the region of Chatham Square caused so nnich 
fever and ague, that it is said Rutgers at one time prayed the king for a 
better title to his property, that he might sell it to somebody willing to 
make drains, " because the inhabitants lost one third of their time by 


sickness." There were Imt few houses as yet above that of William Ax- 
tell, which, beiug sold under the confiscation act about this time, became 
the residence of Lewis Allaire Scott, sou of John Morin Scott, who was 
secretary of the state of New York for a considerable period.^ Near 
Hanover Square were several fine old mansions ; that of Gerard W. 
Beekman had been occupied in 1782 by Admiral Digby, who entertained 
Prince William Henry, afterwards William IV. of England. Andrew 
Hamersley's residence was nearly opposite, all the appointments of which 
were in a style of costly elegance. The homes of the Gouverneurs, the 
Hoftinans, the Van Homes, and the Clarksons were in that immediate 
vicinity. Gerardus Duyckinck, proprietor of the " Universal Store " 
whose advertisements and display of wares were the most curious and 
unique of the period, lived on Pearl Street ; he married the daughter of 
Dr. Henry Livingston. Samuel Hake, claimant to the title of Lord 
Hake, a wealthy importer who had remained in New York during the 
■war, built a house a little out of the city, on the Bowery Road ; his 
wife was the daughter of Kobert Gilbert Livingston, and their daugliter 
married Frederic, eldest son of James and Sarah Eeade De Peyster. 
General John Lamb established his residence in Wall Street when he 
returned from the wars. Shortly after his election to the Assemlily he 
was appointed Collector of the Port, the emoluments of which office, 
to"ether with the results of investing his depreciated debt certificates in 
forfeited lands, as a speculation, rendered him comfortably opulent. He 
was of a kind, benevolent nature, and opened his doors hospitably to 
every soldier of the Revolution, whatever his rank. But no acts or argu- 
ments could modify his inflexible antipathy to the loyalists. He blamed 
them indiscriminately for the course they had taken in the Revolution, 
and said they deserved punishment. He was as positive as he was lion- 
est in his convictions ; but reasoning from arbitrary premises he followed 
rigidly a single line of thought, like a railway in its grooves, and fearful 
of the revival of aristocratic influences, became the determined opposer of 
every movement towards the union of the States in empire under a 
specific constitution. 

Foremost on tiiis plane stood Governor George Clinton, whose long 
and faithful services at the helm of affairs had given him a strong hold 
upon the affections of the people of New York. He had made his mark, 

1 See page 207 (Vol. II.) for sketch of the Ruthert'ord and A.xtell houses, upon the corner 
■of Vesey Street, whei'e the Aster House now stands, which together formed a uniform build- 
ing of brick. Mis. Axtell was a beautiful woman, the sister of James De Peyster, and of 
Mrs. Dr. Charlton and Mrs. t'larkson ; her portrait, by Copley, is preserved in the De Peyster 
family of the present generation. 


and his clear, logical brain and great decision of character inspired con- 
fidence in his political judgment; he possessed, moreover, the power of 
distributing the patronage of the government. He was ;ibly supported 
by John Lansing, Robert Yates, IMelancthon Smith, and other men of 
importance, anil the State rights party thus represented was largely 
in the majority. 

Meanwhile (reneral Philip Schuyler, with maguaniniity similar to tliat 
whicli characterized his treatment of the conquered Burgoyne in 1777, 
was striving for the restoration of the loyalists to full citizeuship. Ham- 
ilton was his son-in-law, and, having recently acquired special influence 
through the operations of the bank established under his auspices, was 
elected, in spite of the strength and magnitude of tiie opposition, to the 
Assembly of 1787. He at once attacked the vexed subject of the con- 
tinued exclusion of the loyalists from participation in the elections, and 
with such boll! strokes — lessons which toucli the American heart more 
deeply than the most stirring memories of Greece and Home — that on 
the last day of January he secured the passage of a bill repealing the 
disfraucliising act, which, aided by tlie efforts of Scliuyler, was carried 
through the Senate on the 3d of Feliruary. But an attempt to surrender 
the control of tlie imposts to Congress was a total failure. New York 
was conscious of her pro.spective importance, and resisted every encroach- 
ment upon her sovereignty. Jealousy of tlie national .scheme took pos- 
session of the New York soul, and fear of an elective despotism sliarpened 
her sagacious vision. In connection with Schuyler and Hamilton the 
leading spirits who looked beyond the special interests of the State to a 
more positive union on some definite grounds were Secretary Jay, Chan- 
cellor Livingston, and the Van Eensselears. They spent the month of 
February in striving for the assent of the Legislature to the appointment 
of delegates to the Convention. Tiiis Ijill was carried March 6, notwitli- 
standing the Federal party was in what seemed a hopeless minority. But 
of the three delegates chosen, John Lansing and llobert Yates were nota- 
bly of the governor's mind, and although Hamilton was tlie tliird choice, 
tlie anti-Federalists thought they could safely trust tiie interests of New 
York to a delegation of which the majority were in favor of preserving her 
individual powers, and whose action was confineil specifically by a legisla- 
tive resolution to the business of amending the Articles of Confederation, 
instead of creating a new Constitution. 

New York little dreamed that the, energy, acute sense, and 
well-balanced intellect of the youthful Hamilton was to overliear by 
eloquence, interpret essential needs by illustration, usurp powers with 
imperious will, and then convince by argument a large proportion of her 


l^opulation that he was iu the right, and finally compel a public recogni- 
tiou and justification of the wisdom of his conduct. But such were the 
facts, as the reader will soon learn. The whole story reads like fiction. 

The character and geuius of Hamilton furnish a never-failing source of 
food for captivating study.' He was not yet thirty, and almost as boyish- 
looking as when he was the confidential companion of Washington. 
There was, perhaps, more gravity resting upon his expressive countenance 
at times, but intelligeut vivacity predominated. He was frank, amiable, 
and high-bred, aud attracted his friends irresistibly ; while his enemies 
both hated and stood iu awe of him. He had a mind of immense grasp, 
and could endure more unremitted aud intense labor than any other man 
in New York. His thought flashed forth like a calcium light, illuminat- 
ing the broad scene, and placing him in the front rank of artists in 
government-making. He had been ripening for his work through patient 
attention to facts and a grand generalization of their subtle princijjles, 
until he could see into cou.sequences yet dormant in ideas. His growth 
in the science of practical statesmanship had been pushed to its full 
stature by the forces of that remarkable age ; and his versatility and 
creative gifts had been sharpened by the peculiar social and political 
conditions of the community in which his lot was cast. He was never 
fully up to the tide of popular sympathy in all things, or responsive to its 

■ The following lettur, never before piiblisheJ, written by Hamilton to Miss .Scliuyler 
three weeks before their marriage — dated Oetober 13, 1780 — will be read with by 
evei-y student of Hamilton's career. The original copy is treasured by one of the family, 
through whose courtesy the author has been pennitted to make this copy : — 

" I would not have you imagine Miss that I write to you so often either to gratify your 
wishes or to please your vanity ; hut merely to indulge myself and to comply with that rest- 
less propensity of my mind, which will not allow me to be happy when I am not doing some- 
thing ill which you are coneerneil. This may seem a very idle disposition iu a philosopher 
and a soldier ; but I can plead illustrious examples in my justification. Achilles had like to 
have sacrificed Greece and his glory to his passion for a female captive ; aud Anthony lost 
the world for a woman. 1 am sorry the times are so changed as to oblige me to summon 
antic|uity for my apology, but I confes.s, to the disgrace of the present age, that I have not 
been able to find many who are as far gone as myself in such laudable zeal for the fair se.x. 
I suspect, however, if others knew the charms of iny sweetheart as well as I do, I should 
have a great number of competitors — I wish I could give you an idea of her— you have no 
conception how sweet a girl she is — it is only iu my heart that her image is truly drawn. 
She has a lovely form and a mind still more lovely ; she is all goodness, the gentlest, the 
dearest, the tenderest of her sex — Ah, Betsey, how 1 love her ! 

" Two days since, I wrote to you my dear girl and sent the letter to the care of Colonel 
Morris : there was with it a bundle to your mamma, directed to your father, containing a 
cloak which Miss Livingston sent to my care. I enclosed you in that letter, the copy of a 
long one to my friend Laurens with an account of Arnold's affair. 1 mention this for fear 
of a miscarriage as usual. 

•• Well, mv love, here is the middle of October ; a few weeks more and you are mine ; a 


pulse-beat ; but he could give more point to a discussion than any one 
of his contemporaries, and he was unsurpassed in the electricity of his 

The Convention assembled at Philadelphia in May. Congress had 
regarded the movement with coldness, questioning its constitu- 1787. 
tiouality until aroused by the alarming condition of affairs in ^'^^■ 
Massachusetts. A riotous insurrection, cau.sed by public and private 
debts, scarcity of money, and decline of trade during the autumn of 1786 
and winter following, threatened the whole country with anarchy and ruin. 
The people, imbued with wild notions of liberty, headed by Daniel Shays, 
resisted the payment of obligations and taxes, and obliged the courts of 
law to adjourn. The rebellion e.xtended into Xew Hampshire, where the 
legislature convened at Exeter was besieged, and imprisoned for several 
hours, the object of the insurgents being to force an issue of paper money 
agreeably to a petition signed by thirty towns which had not been 
granted. " 1 am mortified beyond expression," wrote Washington to 
Henry Lee in, " at such a melancholy verification of what our 
transatlantic foes Jiave predicted, and of another thing more to be re- 
gretted, that mankind when left to tliemselves are unfit for their own 
government." This pressure for reform in the general governing system 
was finally made effective through the action of the New York Legislature, 

swcft reHfOtion to me — is it so to my charmer ? Do you find j'ourself more or less anxious 
for the moment to arrive as it approaches ? This is a good criterion to determine the degree 
of your affection by. You have had an age for consideration, time enough for even a woman to 
know her mind in. Do you begin to repent or not ? Remember you are going to do a very 
serious tiling. For tliougli our sex have generously given up a part of its prerogatives, and 
husbands have no longer the power of life and death, as the wiser husbands of former days 
liad, yet we still retain the power of happiness and misery ; and if you are prudent you will not 
trust the felicity of your future life to one in whom you have not good reason for implicit 
confidence. I give you warning — don't blame me if you make an injudicious choice — and 
if you should be disposed to retract, don't give me the trouble of a journey to Albany, and 
then do as did a certain lady 1 have mentioned to you, find out the day before we aie to be 
niaiTied that you ' can't like the man ' ; but of all things I pray you don't make the discovery 
afterwards — for this would be worse than all. But I do not apprehend its being the case. 
I think we know each other well enough to understand each other's feelings, and to be sure 
our atfection will not only last but be progressive. 

" I stopped to read over my letter — it is a motley mixture of fond extravagance and 
sprightly dullness ; the truth is I am too much in love to be either reasanal)le or witty ; I 
feel in the extreme ; and when I attempt to speak of my feelings I rave. I have remarked to 
you before that real tenderness has always a tincture of .sadness, and when I afi'ect the lively 
my melting heart reliels. It is separated from you and it cannot be cheerful. Love is a 
sort of insanity and every thing I write savors strongly of it ; that you return it is the best 
proof of your madness also. 

" 1 tell you, my Betsey, you are negligent ; you do not write to me often enougli. Take 
more care of my haiijiiness, for there is nothing your Hamilton would not do to promote 


which instructed her delegates in Congress to move for an act to sanction 
a revision or change ; thus Congress advised the States to confer power 
upon a convention, whicli should comprehend the highest civil talent of 
the country — representing every interest, and every part of the Union. 

The members numbered fifty-five. Washington, the heart and hand 
of America, towards whom all eyes turned in dire emergencies, came 
from Mount Vernon, and, with his usual punctilious observance of eti- 
quette, paid an immediate visit to the President of Pennsylvania, Dr. 
Franklin. The philosopher was in his eighty-second year, but his health 
had improved since his return from France, and he attended the Con- 
vention regularly, five hours a day, for more than four months. Robert 
Morris, whose personal credit had proved such a valuable element in 
securing independence, George Read, a signer of the Declaration, Edmund 
Randolph, the governor of Virginia, and Gouverneur Morris, who had 
resided in Philadelphia since the tevmiuiition of his service as Assistant 
Financier, were conspicuous delegates. New Jersey sent Governor Wil- 
liam Livingston, one of the most forcible and elegant writers, and prob- 
ably the best classical scholar in the assemblage. The reader has known 
him best as a soldier and a statesmen, but he had great tact and talent 
as an essayist, his satirical powers were unrivaled, he was u poet of no 
mean ability, and his literary taste was singularly refined for the day. 

From New Hampshire came John Langdon, subsequently governor of 
tliat State, a severely practical republican of social habits and magnetic 
and pleasing address, the patriot who furnished means to equip Stark's 
New Hampshire militia in the dark days prior to the victory of Ben- 
nington, pledging his plate among other valuables for the purpose. From 
South Carolina came a polished and accomplished delegation : John 
Rutledge, who, like his brother Edward, had received legal training at 
the Temple, and was versed in all the intricacies of the Englisli law ; and 
the two Pinckneys, Charles Cotesworth and Charles — the latter, after- 
wards governor of South Carolina, a dozen or more years younger than 
the former — both of whom were educated for the bar, the elder of the 
two at Westminster, Oxford, and the Temple, and had since passed through 
every vicissitude of a soldier's life. From Massachusetts came a fine 
specimen of the old Puritan character, Caleb Strong, born in Northamp- 
ton thirty years before the breaking out of the Revolution, a student of 
law, of spotless private character, a statesman of inflexible adherence to 
principle, who while governor of Massachusetts during the War of 1812 
denied the right of the President, upon constitutional grounds, to make 
requisition upon the State for troops ; he affected no elegance of style, 
was tall, with a somewhat long visage, his hair but slightly powdered, 


resting loosely upon a high, tlioiightl'ul brow, from beneath which eyes of 
singular beauty beamed with gentleness and kindness. Elbridge Gerry 
was forty-three, one year the senior of Strong, a master in all questions 
of commerce and finance, a gentleman small and slight of stature, 
and of extreme urbanity of manner. Eufus King was also sent by 
Massachusetts, and his vigorous oratory, and rare combination of personal 
and intellectual endowments, made him a prominent figure. Ehode 
Island was not represented. Connecticut sent three of her brightest 
and best men, William Samuel Johnson, Koger Sherman, and Oliver 
Ellsworth. Jolinson was not only a jurist, but a man of broad iutelli- 
"ence, science, and literature. He had resided five vears before the war 
in England as agent of Connecticut, and was on intimate terms with the 
celebrated Dr. Samuel Johnson, as well as a privileged guest in the culti- 
vated circle of whicli that literary colossus was the acknowledged chief 
Sherniau, according to Jefferson, " never said a foolish thing in iiis life." 
He was fovty-si.x;, tall, erect, well-proportioned, of fair complexion and 
manly bearing, habitually calm, grave, self-poi.sed, and posse.s.sed of nmch 
practical wisdom, and a knowledge of human nature that seemed intui- 
tive. He was really one of the most remarkable men present. He was 
the son of a Xew England farmer, obtained the rudiments of education in 
a common school, and worked at the shoemaker's trade, with his books 
around him, while preparing himself for the stern realities of a useful 
life. He hardly e\'er had known an idle hour. He had already been, for 
some years, a judge of tlie highest court in Connecticut. Ellsworth was 
also a lawyer, and atlerwnrds chief justice. He was forty-two, an inde- 
pendent thinker and an eloquent speaker, an unassuming, consistent 
republican, who comliined all the charms of good-breeding with the ex- 
cellences of the Christian gentleman. 

Georgia and Xorth Carolina were not behind the other States in con- 
trilniting merit to this august body. Georgia's most notable delegate 
was a son of her adoption, Abraham Baldwin, a young Connecticut lawyer 
of thirty-three, a graduate of Yale, the brother-in-law of Joel Barlow, 
who at the request of Geneml Greene removed to Savannah in 1784. 
North Carolina .sent William Richardson Davie, by birth an Englishman, 
a graduate from Princeton, and commissary-general of the Soutliern 
army under Greene. He was but thirty-one, remarkably handsome, of 
commanding physique, voice of peculiar melody, and an accomplished 
orator. He was subsequently governor of Xorth Carolina. Hugh Wil- 
liamson was fifty, and his reputation for integrity such that no one 
dared to approach him with flattery or falsehood. He was a thorough 
scholar in divinity, excelled in mathematics, had studied medicine at 


Edinburgh and Utrecht, and was a writer upon a great variety of abstruse 
topics. Virginia's delegation was renowned. The central figure was 
Wasliington. George Wythe, Chancellor of Virginia for more than 
twenty years, was si.\ty-one, and as exceptionally wise and pure-minded 
as he was venerable. He, like Sherman, was the son of a farmer, al- 
though educated chiefly by his mother, a remarkable classical scholar ; 
but he had taught himself Greek, and become thoroughly learned in 
jurisprudence. His pupil, James Madison, of whom Virginia was justly 
proud, stood by his side, a fair-faced man of thirty-seven. Maryland, 
Delaware, and Pennsylvania together supj^lied eighteen delegates. Luther 
Martin, of Maryland, was a lawyer of commanding intellect, afterwards 
the personal and political friend of Aaron Burr, whose acquittal he was 
instrumental in procuring when tried for treason in 1807 ; one of his 
colleagues, John Francis Mercer, afterwards governor of Maryland, had 
been a soldier and a citizen of deserved distinction in his own State ; 
John Dickinson, son of Judge Samuel Dickinson, had just reached his 
fifty-fifth year, a man of elegant learning and fine conversational powers, 
who, trained in law at the Temple, had displayed unusual gifts, not only 
at the bar, but in legislation and authorship. George Clymer, of Penn- 
sylvania, was forty-eight, of medium size, fair complexion, and features 
radiant with intelligence and benevolence ; he rarely made a speech, 
through extreme diffidence, but wrote with exceeding care and accuracy, 
and liis opinions were always received with marked respect ; it is said 
that he was never heard to speak ill of the absent or known to break a 
promise, and was always on the alert to promote every scheme for the im- 
provement of the country in science, agriculture, polite learning, the fine 
arts, or objects of mere utility. James Wilson, born in Scotland, had 
studied successively at Glasgow, St. Andrews, and Edinburgh, and finally 
completed his legal education in the office of John Dickinson, of Dela- 
ware, who was ten years his senior. He was a clear, sagacious, forcible 
political writer, and a statesman of high order. The soldier, Thomas 
Mifiiin, was one of the immortal company; also Jared lugersoll, whose 
father, Jared IngersoU, was the stamp-master of Connecticut, captured 
and conducted to Hartford in 1765, and forced by the indignant people 
to resign his office, as related in a former chapter. The son went to Lou- 
don and studied law five years in the Middle Temple, and then returned 
to reside in Philadelphia, where he became a prominent jurist, holding 
many offices of trust in the courts and councils of the country. 

There was scarcely a man in the Convention who was not a specimen 
of strong individuality, of commanding will, of manly statesmanship, and 
of gentlemanly culture ; and nearly all had acquired political wisdom and 


achieved eminence in some field of public service. It was a body of 
earnest thinkers, to whom had been confided in a larger degree than ever 
to any other body of men the destinies of nations. It organized with 
Washington as its presiding officer, bound itself to secrecy, and proceeded 
to its work with closed doors ; it was soon found impossible to amend 
the existing Articles of Confederation, and various were the resolutions 
submitted as the basis of a new constitution. Franklin opposed every 
proposition that tended towards an arbitrary government. He thought 
the chief magistrate should have no salary and little power, and that the 
government should be a simple contrivance for executing the will of the 
people. He said that ambition and avarice, the love of power and 
the love of money, were the two passions that most infiuenced the affairs 
of men, and argued that the struggle for posts of honor which were at 
the same time places of profit would perpetually divide the nation and 
distract its councils ; and that the men who would thrust themselves into 
the arena of contention for preferment would not be the wise and moder- 
ate, those fitted for high trusts, but the bold, the selfish, and the violent, 
and that in the bustle of cabal, and the mutual abuse of parties, the best 
of characters would be torn in pieces. 

Hamilton went to the other extreme. He did not favor a monarchy, 
but he was for having a perpetual senate and a pei-petual governor. His 
peculiarly constructive ideas were toned, however, by a chivalrous gener- 
osity, and an unerring perception of the practicable and the expedient. 
The work before the Convention was of a nature to develop, to the fidlest 
extent, the most conflicting opinions and the most opposite theories. No 
subject in the whole range of human thought and human endeavor could 
be more complex. The prevailing fear of a close corporation with des- 
potic powers, obstructed the development of the great Federal principle 
which Hamilton had long cherLshed, and first defined in the midst of the 
gloom and uncertainty of the civil contest — a principle which acknowl- 
edged the inalienable right of the individual state to control absolutely 
its own domestic and internal affairs, because better able to do it intelli- 
gently than any outside power, but which also recognized the desirability 
and necessity of a central government, that should settle and determine 
national questions. To embody such a scheme, with all its delicate 
details, in a written document, required serious, searching, conscientious, 
and discriminating examination and deliberation. No aid of special 
significance could be gleaned from history, as the world had then seen 
little of real liberty united with personal safety and public security. 

And this novel undertaking, unknown to the science of politics, was to 
be tried in a new land, under new social conditions, and it is no matter of 
wonder that it should have been regarded as a prodigious experiment. 


All summer the toil went on. In the early part of July Hamilton's 
associate New York delegates, Yates and Lansing, returned home, because 
they thought the Convention was transcending its powers. Hamilton, 
left alone to represent the great Empire State, brought his marvelous gifts 
and best energies to the task. He had less direct agency than some 
others in framing the chief provisions of the Constitution, but he was 
the main engineer of the structure. Never untimely obtrusive with 
his clear-cut opinions, or hesitant when discussion was appropriate, he 
brought his profound knowledge of the practical workings of all the 
political .systems of the world into grand review, and with deferential, 
courteous, and yet authoritative air, and singularly fascinating manners,, 
commanded the ear of the Convention whenever he lifted his voice. 

The facts and philosophy of the situation invest the slight figure which 
towered so high in the midst of the assembled greatness with new light 
and life. Hamilton's bright, vivacious countenance illumined every dark 
point of the troublesome and often misfitting framework. He was 
essentially the guide of the builders. Curtis says he evinced " a more 
remarkable maturity than has ever been exhibited by any other person, 
at so early an age, in the .same department of thought " ; and, furthermore, 
that Hamilton "proved himself to be a statesman of greater talent and power 
than the celebrated Pitt, two years his junior, who became Prime Minister 
of England at the age of twenty-four ; for none can doubt, that to build 
up a free and firm State out of a condition of political chaos, and to give 
it a government capable of developing the resources of its soil and people, 
and of insuring to it prosperity, power, and permanence, is a greater work 
than to administer with energy and success — even in periods of severe 
trial — the constitution of an empire whose principles and modes of 
action have been settled for centuries." Hamilton was the youngest 
man in this remarkaljle body, which for moral completeness of character 
and breadth of intellectual vision never has been excelled in this or any 
other country ; and he stood opposed to Franklin, the oldest man present 
— upwards of fifty years his senior — whose fame filled the eastern as 
well as the western hemisphere. 

But although Franklin occasionally pushed his peculiar fancies to the 
utmost verge of truth through excess of worldly wisdom, he rose grandly 
above all fanaticism or intolerance, and his prudent influence was one of 
the great elements that ruled the hour. The next day after Hamilton 
was deserted by his New York colleagues, Franklin delivered a speech in 
which he attributed the " small progress made in four or five weeks' con- 
tinual reasoning with each other without results, to the melancholy 
imperfection of the human understanding," and urgently recommended 
that the sessions be opeued every morning with prayer. 



Washington's serene and commanding presence was of vital conse- 
f|uence at this important crisis of human affairs — without which Hamil- 
ton's extraordinary forecast and luminous discussions would have availed 
little. Madison's accurate and clear logic and Itufus King's brilliant 
eflbrts wei'e also of the first importance. Madison, in addition to his 
manifold duties during the session, preserved a full and careful record of 
the discussions with his own hand ; King was the author of a prohibition 
of the States to pass laws affecting the obligations of contracts, which 
was incorporated in the phraseology of the instrument on the 14th of 
September. The ardent 
and impulsive Gouver- 
neur IMorris, with flash- 
ing eloquence, discarded 
all narrow notions for 
the welfare of the whole 
continent, and contrib- 
uted largely towards 
attaining the objects of 
the Convention. Sev- 
eral of the statesmen, in 
a spirit of comisrehen- 
sive magnanimity, yield- 
ed points, for the general 
good, which they had 
held with great tenacity. 
Hamilton himself, with 
rare felicity of temper- 
ament, accepted in the 
end certain features 
which he thought de- 
fective, believing it to 
be the best government 
that the wisdom of the Convention could iiame, and the best that the 
nation would adopt. 

A committee was appointed on the 8th of September, consisting of 
Hamilton, Madison, William Samuel Johnson, Rufus King, and 
Gouverneur Mon-is, to revise the stvle and arrange the articles of ^^^'^ *' 
the draft of a constitution, which had been under debate since the early 
part of August, and at last substantially agreed upon by its framers. This 
finishing work was delegated to Gouverneur Morris, whose facile pen and 
fine literary taste olothed the instrument in clear, simple, and expressive 

-7-^— _=_- 

Gouverneur Morris. 

[From a painting by Ames, in possession of the New York Historical Society.J 
[Presented by Stephen van Rensselaer, in 1817.] 


language, giving to the substance its admirable order and symmetry, and 
to the text its distinguishing elegance. 

The revised draft liaving been reported and engrossed, it was duly 
signed by a majority of the members, and submitted to the States 
' lor ratification ; after which the Convention adjourned. 

When Hamilton returned home, he found that the anti-Federalists as a 
whole, and a large proportion of his own constituents, accredited him 
with having perpetrated the worst of mischiefs in signing the Constitu- 
tion in behalf of New York. " You were not authorized by the State," 
said Governor Clinton. " You will find yourself, I fear, in a hornet's 
nest," said^ Chief Justice Richard Morris. Washington's official letter 

reached Congress on the 28th, containing a draft of the Constitu- 
Sept. 28. . , . , . 

tion, which, in accordance with a unanimous resolution of that 

body, was transmitted to the several State legislatures, in order to be 
submitted for approval to a Convention to be called in each State for the 
purpose — the assent of nine of the thirteen States being required for its 
ratification. The publication of the instrument in New York opened a 
spirited and violent contest. Not only the city but the whole State was 
in a ferment. It was not possible for the same principle of concession 
and mutual forbearance, and the same breadth of understanding, to pre- 
vail among the masses as among their enlightened representatives in the 
Convention. All maimer of prejudices were awakened, State pride, State 
interests, and State jealousies were aroused, suspicions and terrors were 
created, and hostile legions sincerely believed that the terrible Constitu- 
tion woul 1 be the grave of American liberty. 

From Georgia to New Hampshire a formidable proportion of the peo- 
ple rallied with great enthusiasm and vigor for the defense of State rights. 
The new Constitution proposed a voluntary surrender of jDolitical power 
from one class of men to another. It had been constructed by a Con- 
vention authorized solely to amend the old system. Brilliant orators in 
every State along the whole Atlantic seaboard predicted arbitrary despot- 
ism, and called attention to the fact that the Convention had exceeded 
ils powers. As a natural consequence, inflammatory resentment spread 
with fearful rapidity. The eloquent Patrick Henry lent all his persua- 
sive gifts to the great work of preventing the adoption of the Constitu- 
tion. He said : " When I come to examine its features, they appear to me 
horribly frightful. Among other deformities, it has an awful squinting ; 
it squints towai'ds monarchy ; and does not this raise indignation in the 
breast of every true American ? Your president may easily become king. 
Your senate is so imperfectly constructed, that your dearest rights may 
be sacrificed. Where are your checks in this government ? " 


In New York the anti-Federalists, calling themselves Federal Eepuh- 
licans, organized lor determined opposition. A society, formed in the 
city, of which General John Lamb was chairman, and his son-in-law, 
Charles Tillinghast, secretary, opened a correspondence with the chief 
men holding similar views in other States, to concert measures to prevent 
the adoption of the Constitution. On the other hand, Hamilton com- 
menced writing a series of essays, which, published in tlie Xew York 
newspapers, were copied far and wide into nearly all the journals of 
America. He addressed himself to the reason and good sense of the 
people at large, explaining his position and clearly elucidating his prin- 
ciples of public policy. Associated with him in this educating process 
were Secretary Jay and James Madison. In simple, forcible diction 
they pointed out the advantages -of an energetic government, and gradu- 
ally overcame the ill-grounded apprehensions of the multitude. They 
had faith in the intelligence and honesty of tlie community w'henever it 
.should attain to a better knowledge of the ample provisions for the main- 
tenance of the rights and interests of all classes of citizens and State 
organizations, made by the instrument under consideration. These papers 
commanded careful attention, and carried conviction to the great body of 
thinking men in all parts of the country ; they were published in two small 
volumes during the year 1788, entitled The Federalist, the first 

~ ■' 1788. 

volume being issued before the final essays were written, the 
second following as soon as the series was completed. This work is 
preserved, and justly prized as an exhaustive reply to the many objec- 
tions raised against the Constitution, and as the most important source of 
contemporaneous interpretation which the annals of America afford. 

In the conventions called by the States the best talent w-as engaged, 
and opposing views were advocated with a fullness, force, and earnestness 
never surpassed on any occasion in American history. The parties were 
so evenly balanced, in some instances, that it was impossible to conjecture 
what would be the fate of the Constitution ; and the small majorities 
show how reluctantly tlie new government was accepted. Debts and 
outside dangers moved several of the States to prompt action. An excit- 
ing month was spent in debate by the Convention of Massachusetts. 
" The State government," .said Fisher Ames, " is a beautiful struc- 
ture, but it is situated on the naked beach. What security has it ^ 
against foreign enemies ? Can we protect our fisheries or secure by 
treaties a sale for the produce of our lands in foreign markets ? " The 
eminent men of Virginia were not assembled in convention until June. 
Patrick Henry wrote on the 9th to General Lamb, " I am satisfied four 
fifths of our inhabitants are opposed to tlie new scheme of government. 


and yet, strange as it may seem, the numbers in convention appear equal 
on both sides ; the friends and seekers of power liave, with their usual 
subtilty, wriggled themselves into the choice of the people by assuming 
shapes as various as the faces of the men they address on such occasions." 
The brilliant Virginian resisted the Constitution to the last. When 
likely to be overpowered he expressed his sentiments in manly terms : 
" I will be a peaceable citizen ' My head, my hand, my heart, shall be at 
liberty to retrieve the loss of liberty and remove the defects of the sys- 
tem in a constitutional way." 

Meanwhile New York was agitated from centre to circumference with 
acrimonious disputation. The two parties vilified each other in pamphlets, 
in the newspapers, in conversation on the streets, and in social and busi- 
ness, circles. Hamilton, meeting General Lamb one morning, expostulated 
with him upon the folly of his fears respecting " the abuse of power," saying, 
" It is a matter of certainty that Washington will be the first President." 
Admitting that unlimited power might safely be trusted to that great 
man. Lamb added that he knew of no other mortal to whom he would be 
willing to confide the enormous authority granted by the Constitution, 
and that not even the influence of a name so illustrious could sliake his 
opposition to the dangerous instrument. But when nine States had 
signified their approval and the government was sure to go into operation, 
it was plain that New York must do one of two things — unite witli tlie 
others or secede. A resolution for the call of a State Convention, offered 
by Egbert Benson in January, passed both branches of the legislature 
after some delay, and the delegates were accordingly elected. The capi- 
tal was represented by Hamilton, Secretary Jay, Chancellor Livingston, 
Chief Justice Eichard Morris, and Mayor Duane. The delegation from 
Albany were anti-Federalists. The members altogether numbered sixty- 
seven, embracing a very large proportion of the men of talent and promi- 
nence then on the political stage, of whom a decided majority were 
opposed to the Constitution. This New York Convention assem- 
■ bled at Poughkeepsie on the 17th of June, and organized with 
Governor George Clinton President. 

Chancellor Livingston opened the discussion on the 19th, pointing out 
the absolute necessity of the Union to New York, especially on account 
of her peculiar local situation and the consequent confusion of her com- 
mercial relations, and in the most eloquent terms urged the magnitude and 
importance of the question at issue, and the duty of the gentlemen to 
divest themselves of every preconceived prejudice in order to deliberate 
with coolness, moderation, and candor. The anti-Federalists argued that 
New York would, in accepting the Constitution, sacrifice too much jiolit- 


ical consequence and too great a proportion of the natural advantages 
accruing from her commanding geographical position. 

July came, and still the various clauses of the Constitution were hotly 
discussed. News from Virginia on the 3d saddened the opposi- 
tion. In Albany the Federalists were jubilant, and celebrated the ''^ 
event by a procession conducted with niucli pomp and ceremony. The 
anti-Federalists, angered by the display, gathered themselves together, and 
after listening to inflammatory speeches burned the Constitution in the 
faces of their foes. Both parties then attempted to march through the 
same street, and a serious scrimmage ensued in which several persons 
were wounded. The news of the accession of New Hampshire followed 
swiftly that of Virginia. The Convention was in the very depths of 
troubled waters. Jay's continuity of mental effort and aptitude for har- 
monizing difierences and smoothing down rough places were of the utmost 
use in the emergency. But the most remarkable speech of the session 
was that of Hamilton, wlien the delegates assemlJed for the final vote. 
He addressed them for three hours, bringing forward every argument, 
and dwelling witli matchless skill upon the miseries that must ensue if 
the Constitution was rejected. Some of his audience were melted into 
tears ; Kent, who was present, said " he never could have believed the 
power of man equal to so much eloquence." Gilbert Livingston, one of 
the opposition, rose, and solemnly remarked " that there was much truth 
in Mr. Hamilton's words." The sagacious Clinton at the last was be- 
lieved to have privately advised Melancthon Smith to vote with the Fed- 
eralists. The momentous decision took place on Thursday, the 
26th of July, New York adopting the Constitution by a majority ^ ' 
of three — with the recommendation of several proposed amendments. 
Thus turned the pivot in the history of the English-speaking race. 

The metropolis had grown restless while waiting for tlie action of the 
Convention, and on Monday, tla-ee days before the great event just 
recorded, proceeded to carry out the plan of an imposing celebiu- " ^ 
tion, matured by a committee, and arranged under the special supervision 
of Major L'Enfant. It was thought that an exhibition of the popular 
feeling would materially influence the obstinate body at Poughkeepsie, 
and bring matters to a crisi.s. The morning was ushered in by a salute 
of thirteen guns from the Federal ship Hamilton, moored oft' the Bowling 
Green. This vessel had been built for the occasion and presented by the 
ship-carpenters. It was equipped as a frigate of thirty-two guns, twenty- 
seven feet keel and ten beam, with everything complete in proportion, 
both in hull and rigging, and was manned with upwards of thirty sailors, 
and a full complement of officers, under command of the veteran Commo- 


dore James Nicholson. It was drawn through the streets by ten beautiful 

The procession was formed upon a scale of vast magnitude, and it being 
the first of the kind in New York — or in America — which nothing 
since has excelled in magnificence of design or splendor of effect, a brief 
outline of its principal features will vividly illustrate the spirit of the 
age. It was marshaled in ten divisions, in honor of the ten States that 
had already acceded to the Constitution. The Grand Marshal was Colonel 
Eichard Piatt. His associate officers were Morgan Lewis, Nicholas Fish, 
Aquila Giles, James Fairlie, William Popham, and Abijah Hammond. 

First came an escort of light-horse preceded by trumpeters and a body 
of artillery with a field-piece. Then foresters with axes, preceding and 
following Christopher Columbus, on horseback. Farmers came next, Nich- 
olas Cruger, in farmer's costume, conducting a plow drawn by three yoke of 
oxen. John Watts, also in farmer's dress, guided a harrow drawn by 
oxen and horses, followed by a number of gentlemen farmers carrying 
implements of husbandry. A newly invented threshing-machine was 
manipulated by Baron Pollnitz and other gentleman farmers in farmers' 
garb, grinding and threshing grain as they passed along. Mounted upon 
a fine gray horse, elegantly caparisoned, and led by two colored men in 
white Oriental dresses and turbans, Anthony Walton White bore the 
arms of the United States in sculpture, preceding the Society of the 
Cincinnati in full military uniform. Gardeners followed in green aprons, 
with the tools of their trade ; and then the tailors, attended by a band of 
music, making a brilliant display. The measurers of grain were headed 
by James Van Dyke, their banner representing the measures used in their 
business, with the lines : — • 

" Federal measures, and measures true, 
Shall measure out justice to us and to you." 

The bakers were headed by .John Quackenboss and Frederick Stymetz. 
Ten apprentices, dressed in white with blue sashes, each carrying a large 
rose, decorated with ribbons, and ten journeymen in like costume, carry- 
ing implements of the craft, were followed by a large square platform 
mounted on wheels, drawn by ten bay horses, bearing the " Federal Loaf," 
into which was baked a whole barrel of flour, and labeled with the 
names in full length of the ten States that had ratified the Constitution. 
Their banner represented the decline of trade under the old confederation. 
The brewers paraded horses and drays with hogsheads ornamented with 
hop-vines and barley. Upon the first, mounted on a tun of ale, was a 
beautiful boy of eight years, in close-fitting flesh-colored silk, representing 
Bacchus, with a silver goblet in his hand. 


The second division was headed by the coopers, led by Peter Stouten- 
burgh. Thirteen apprentices, each thirteen years of age, dressed in white 
sliirts and trousers, with green ribbons, on their ankles, carried kegs under 
their left arms. They were followed by forty-two more in white leathern 
aprons, with green oak branches in their hats, and white oak branches in 
their ri"ht liands ; upon a car drawn by four bay horses decorated with 
green ribbons and oak branches were coopers at work under John Post, 
as boss, upon an old cask, the staves of which all their skill could not 
keep together ; and, in apparent despair at their repeated failures, they 
suddenly betook themselves to the construction of a new, fine, tight, iron- 
bound keg, which bore the name of the " New Constitution." Butchers 
followed with a car drawn by four horses, each mounted by a boy 
dressed in white, upon which was a stall neatly furnished, and butchers and 
boys busily at work ; it also bore a fine bullock of a thousand pounds' weight, 
which was presented to the committee by the butchers and roasted on the 
ground during the afternoon. This car was followed by one hundred of 
the trade in clean white aprons. The banners were carried by William 
Wright and John Perrin. The tanners and curriers carried a picturesque 
emblem with the motto, " By union we rise to splendor." The skinners, 
leather-breeches makers, and glovers were dressed in buckskin waistcoats, 
breeches, gloves, and garters — with bucks' tails in their hats. James 
Mott was the standard-bearer, their motto being, " Americans, encourage 
your own manufactures." To these William C. Thompson, the parchment 
manufacturer, attached himself, with a standard of parchment, inscribed, 
" American manufactured." The third division was happily and ingen- 
iously conceived, and most effective in the novelty of its display ; the 
cordwainers led, headed by James McCready, bearing a flag witli the 
arms of the craft, inscribed, " Federal Cordwainers," followed by twelve 
masters ; then came the car of the Sons of St. Crispin, drawn by four 
milk-white horses with postilions in livery, upon which was a shop with 
ten men diligently at work ; in the rear of the main body of three hun- 
dred and forty workmen Anthony Bolton bore a similar flag to the one 
in front. The fourth division commenced with the carpenters, who 
numbered, altogether, upwards of two hundred ; each carried a rule in his 
hand, and a scale and dividers hung from liis neck with a blue ribliou. 
The furriers attracted great attention, their leader bearing a white bear- 
skin ; he was followed by an Indian in native costume loaded with furs, 
notwithstanding it was one of the hottest days in July ; a procession of 
workmen, clad in fur-trimmed garments, and a liorse led by an Indian in 
a beaver blanket with two bears sitting upon packs of furs upon his liack, 
terminated the show, together with the unicj^ue figure of one of the prin- 


cipal men dressed in a superli scarlet blanket, wearing an elegant cap and 
plumes, and smoking a tomahawk jjipe. 

The hatters wore blue cockades and blue sashes ; they numbered about 
seventy. The peruke-makers and hair-dressers, forty-five in all, displayed 
the arms of the trade — a wig in quarters, with three razors for a crest. 
The artificial florists carried a white flag ornamented with flowers ; the 
whitesmiths, an elegant pedestal of open scroll-work supporting the arms 
of the trade — Vulcan's arm and hand with hammer ; the cutlers wore 
steel breastplates and green silk aprons ; the confectioners bore Bacchus's 
cup in sugar, four and one half feet in circumference, and an enormous 
" Federal Cake." The stone-masons displayed the Temple of Fame sup- 
ported by thirteen pillars, ten finished and three unfinished, with the 

inscription : — 

" The foundation is firm, the materials are good, 
Each pillar 's cemented with patriots' blood." 

The decorations of the societies were of the greatest variety and sig- 
nificance, and the image of Hamilton was carried aloft on banners in 
every part of the procession, the Constitution in his right hand and the 
Confederation in his left. He had to all appearances turned the scale for 
the Union, and fame was indeed crowning him with well-earned and en- 
during laurels. 

The upholsterers displayed upon a superbly carpeted car, drawn by six 
horses, the Federal chair of State, prepared by William Mooney, after- 
wards Grand Sachem of the Tammany Society, above which was a rich 
canopy nineteen feet high, overlaid with deep-blue satin, hung with fes- 
toons and fringes, gold and glitter ; on the right of the chair stood John 
De Gru.she, representing the Goddess of Liberty, with a scroll, inscribed 
" Federal Constitution, 1788," and on the left was a figure in the charac- 
ter of Justice, blindfolded and bearing the sword and balance. 

The picture of the scene will not be perfect without the bricklayers, 
with their motto, " In God is our trust ; " the painters and glaziers, with 
various specimens of their handicraft ; the cabinet-makers, with a car 
drawn by four beautiful horses, upon which a table and a cradle were 
completed during the march ; the chair-makers, sixty or more, with the 
motto upon their standard, — 

" The Federal States in union bound. 
O'er all the world our chairs are found" ; 
the ivory-turners and musical-instrument makers, their standard repre- 
senting Apollo playing on a lyre, witli a border of musical instruments 
festooned in the manner of trophies ; the lace and fringe weavers, bearing 
orange colors elevated on a gilt standard, with the device of an angel 


bearing a scroll, inscribed, " Federal Constitution," and underneath, " 0, 
never let it perish in your hands, but piously transmit it to your chil- 
dren " ; the paper-stainers, with standard borne by John Colles ; the civil 
engineers, carrying a design of a dock tor building and repairing men-of- 
war; the shipwrights, with Noah's ark upon their banner; the blacksmiths 
and nailers, numbering one hundred and twenty, who began and completed 
an anchor upon tlaeir stage during the marcli, while their motto floated in 

the breeze, — 

'• Forge nie strong, finish me neat, 
I soon shall moor a Feileral fleet " ; 

the ship-joiners ; the boat-builders ; the block and pump makers, with a 
stage upon which they made a complete pump on the route ; the sail- 
makers, who, in picturesque attire, with pine branches in their liats, con- 
structed a ship's lbret(jpsail upon a car drawn by fotir horses, and sewed 
about fifty-six yards on a steering sail ; and the riggers, to the number of 
forty-one, headed l)y Richard Clark, bearing a standard representing a 
ship in process of being rigged, witli the motto, — 

"Fit me well, and rig me nt-at. 
And join me to the Federal fleet." 

But by far the most imposing part of the gorgeous pageant was the 
Federal ship with Hamilton's name emljlazoned upon eacli side of it, 
heading the seventh division, its crew going through every nautical prep- 
aration and movement for storms, calms, and squalls, as it moved slowly 
through the streets ; when abreast Beaver Street the proper signal for a 
pilot brought a pilot-boat, eighteen feet long, upon a wagon drawn by a 
l^air of horses, from its harbor to the ship's 'weather-quarter, and a pilot 
was received on board ; when opposite Bowling Green the president and 
members of Congress were discovered standing upon the ibrt, and the 
ship instantly brought to and fired a salute of thirteen guns, followed by 
three cheers, which were returned by the Congressional dignitaries ; when 
in front of the house of William Constable, in Pearl Street, Mrs. Edgar 
came to the window and presented the ship with a suit of colors ; while 
abreast of Old Slip, the Spanish Government vessel saluted the Hamilton 
with thirteen guns, which was returned with as much promptness as 
though actually a ship of war upon tlie high seas. The Marine Society 
followed in the wake of the pilot-boat, the president wearing a gold 
anchor at his left breast. The printers, book-binders, and stationers came 
next, preceded by Hugh Gaine and Samuel Loudon on horseback. I'pon 
a stage drawn by four horses was a printing-press, with compositors and 
pressmen at work, several hundred copies of a song written liy Duer being 
struck off and distributed amono- the crowd during the march. 


The eighth division consisted of three hundred cartmen in gay equip- 
ments ; a horse-doctor bearing a standard with a curious device ; a band 
of mathematical instrument makers, with banner encircled by ten stars, 
exhibiting a Hadley's quadrant telescope, compass, and hour-glass, with 
the motto, " Trade and Navigation " ; a few carvers and engravers ; coach 
and harness makers, preceded by a stage drawn by ten black horses, with 
men at work ; coppersmiths, with a significant standard ; tin-plate work- 
ers, exhibiting " The Federal Tin Warehouse," raised on ten pillars, with 

the motto, — 

" When three more pillars rise, 
Our union will the world surprise " ; 

pewterers ; gold and silver smiths ; potters ; chocolate- makers, with the 
device upon one side of their banner of a man with thirteen heads look- 
ing different ways, and upon the other ten men supporting " one presi- 
dential head " ; tobacconists, numbering forty-five, with their arms 
encompassed by thirteen tobacco-plants, and each carrying a hand of 
tobacco with ten leaves bound closely together ; dyers dressed in various 
colors, their motto being, " Give glory to God " ; brush-makers with a beau- 
tiful banner, and carrying a large brush called a Turk's head, upon staves 
twelve feet long; tallow-chandlers, bearing a flag with thirteen stripes, 
beneath which was a picture of Washington on one side, and of Hamilton 
on the other — anticipating the administration of the first President of 
the new nation — and over the arms of the trade were thirteen candles, 
ten burning and three not lighted ; and the saddlers, harness, and whip 
makers, followed by a richly caparisoned horse led by a groom with an 
elegant whip in his baud, and ten stable-boys dressed in character. 

Every class of the population participated in this remarkable pro- 
cession. In the ninth division marched the judges and lawyers in 
their robes, preceded by the sheriff and coroner ; John Lawrence, John 
Cozine, and Robert Troup bore the new Constitution elegantly engrossed 
on vellum, and teu students of law followed, bearing in order the ratifi- 
cations of the ten States. The Philological Society, headed by its presi- 
dent, Josiah Ogden Hoffman, came next, the standard, with its arms, borne 
by William Dunlap ; Noah Webster, the great American lexicographer, 
was in the procession. The Eegents of the University, and the president, 
professors, and students of Columbia College, all in their academic dresses, 
next appeared, their banner emblematical of science. Then the Chamber 
of Commerce, merchants and traders, John Broome, president of the 
Chamber, anil William Maxwell, vice-president of the Bank of New 
York, in a chariot, and WilHam Laight on liorseback, bearing a standard 
with thirteen stars about an oval field, and Mercury surrounded by em- 


blems of commerce supporting the arms of the city. The tenth division 
embraced clergymen, physicians, scholars, gentlemen, and strangers, pre- 
ceded by a blue Hag with the motto, " United we stand, divided we fall." 
In the rear of the whole was a detachment of artillery. 

The spectacle furnishes a broader view of the various elements and 
industries, and teaches us more of the real character of the inhabitants 
of the city at that time than any chapter of description extant. No 
occasion better deserves a place in history. It was not the triumphal 
entry of a conqueror, with trophies of war, and captives in chains, as in 
the days of antiquity, but an e.xhibition of all the implements of the 
useful arts, in which the trades vied with the merchants and scholars in 
celebrating the victory of Hamilton for the Constitution, and in manifest- 
ing the rapturous attachment of an intelligent people to a powerful yet 
free government, which should preserve peace and concord among the 
States, and promote individual happiness and national glory — a gov- 
ernment that has had vitality enough within itself to quell one of the 
greatest rebellions in the civilized world ; a government which, in its 
moment of direst peril, when its chief head had been struck down by 
an assassin's hand, was so perfect in its machinery that not a wheel 
was clogged, and which, proving itself sufficient for its continually ex- 
tending territory, justly commands the respect of every nation on the 
globe. Well might New York do honor to Hamilton by these peculiar 

The city was pervaded by a singular stillness as the novel procession 
moved along its chief streets — watched by multitudes even to the house- 
tops — no sounds being heard save that of horses' hoofs, carriage-wheels, 
and the necessary salutes and signals. It disappeared beyond the trees 
and over the hills towards Canal Street and Broadway, the point where 
the Lutheran Church had been offered a plot of six acres, which the trus- 
tees decided "inexpedient to accept as a gift, since the land was not 
worth fencing in." The line was over a mile and a half long, and 
contained more than five thousand persons. A great banquet had been 
prepared at the Bayard country-seat near Grand Street, beneath a rus- 
tic pavilion temple ; and the ship Hamilton clewed her topsails, and 
came to anchor in fine style. Tables were spread for six thousand per- 
sons, the president and members of Congress, and other distinguished 
personages, occupying one in the centre elevated a little above the 
others. Above their heads the pavilion terminated in a dome sur- 
mounted by a figure of Fame, with her trumpet proclaiming a new era, 
and holding a scroll, emblematic of the three great epochs of the War, 
" Independence, Alliance with France, and Peace." The colors of the 


different nations who had formed treaties with the United States, and 
escutcheons inscribed with the names of the ten States which had rati- 
fied the Constitution, added greatly to the brilliancy of the scene. At 
four o'clock a salute of thirteen guns gave the signal for return to the 
city. The march occupied somewhat over an hour. At half past five 
the ship Hamilton anchored once more at the Bowling Green, amidst 
the acclamations of thousands. In the evening there was a display of 
fireworks under the direction of Colonel Bauman, city postmaster and 
commander of artillery, " whose constitutional irascibility," writes Pres- 
ident Duer, " was exceedingly provoked by the moon, which shone with, 
pertinacious brilliancy, as if in mockery of his feebler lights." 

On the following Saturday, about nine o'clock in the evening, news 
reached the city of the adoption of the Constitution by the Convention 
at Poughkeepsie on Thursday. The bells pealed one long, loud cry of 
joy, and from the fort and the Federal ship Hamilton the discharge of 
artillery was deafening. Merchants and citizens, headed by some of the 
first characters, went to the houses of Hamilton, Jay, Livingston, Duane, 
and other members of the Convention, and testi^ed their approval by 
giving three cheers before each. The general excitement was so great 
that many of the anti-Federalists also drank and shouted for tlie Consti- 

The immediate result was a cessation of rancorous party strife. The 
doctrine of State rights fell into disrepute. All eyes were turned towards 
the consummation of union, since it was no longer to be defeated. The 
public mind wondered at its own obstinacy as the prospect brightened ; 
and the general satisfaction was increased by speculations upon what 
might have been the condition of the country as thirteen independent, 
sovereignties eternally counteracting each other. Congi-ess publicly an- 
nounced the adoption of the Constitution on the 13th of Septem- 
sept. 13. ^^^^ ^^^ appointed the first Wednesday of the coming Januaiy for 
the people of the United States to choose electors for a chief magistrate 
under its provisions ; the first "Wednesday of February following was 
the day fixed for the electors to meet and make choice of a President. 
Wednesday, the fourth day of March, was designated for the meeting of 
a new Congress under the Constitution, and the general organization of 
the new government. 

New York City was hilarious with anticipation, and began to extend 
her borders. The autumn of 1788 was emphatically one of sunshine. 
The elements favored every enterprise. Tlie air was mild and balmy 
until December, the breezes blew softly, and the skies seemed to have 
adopted a new order of blue. In short, the city breathed a fresh atmos- 


phere of promise, and every project prospered. The utmost activity pre- 
vailed. Houses sprung into sudden notice along the country roads above 
Chambers Street, more particularly in the vicinity of the rivers, and 
numerous costly warehouses arose in the lower part of the town. Indus- 
trious mechanics and tradesmen were finding means to procure modest 
homes of their own, and places of business multiplied in rapid ratio. 
All the trades bristled with new life. An electrical current seemed to 
have passed through every department of business. 

Prominent citizens hastened to contribute thirty-two thousand dollars 
for the enlargement and adornment of the old City Hall, preparatory to the 
novel event which was about to thrill the whole civilized world. The most 
intense anxiety was manifested by all classes concerning the settlement 
of the question as to the future seat of the national government. But it 
was hoped that liberality on the part of New York would determine the 
issue in her favor. The Federal Hall, when completed, presented quite a 
stately appearance. The first or basement story was in the Tuscan style, 
with seven openings ; four massive pillars in the centre supported heavy 
arches, above which rose four Doric columns ; the cornice was ingeniously 
divided to admit thirteen stars in the metopes, which, with the eagle and 
other insignia in the pediment, and the sculptures of thirteen arrows sur- 
rounded by olive branches over each window, marked it as a building set 
apart for national purposes. Tlie entrance fronting on Broad Street was 
through a lofty vestibule paved with marble and elegantly finished. 
The Hall of Eepresentatives was of slightly octangular shape, sixty-one 
by fifty-eight feet in dimension, with an arched ceiling forty-six feet high 
in the centre. It had two galleries, a speaker's platform admirably ar- 
ranged, and a separate chair and desk for each member. Its windows 
were large, and some sixteen feet above the floor, under which were the 
quaintest of fireplaces. 

The Senate Chamber was a smaller apartment, forty by thirty feet in 
extent and twenty feet high, with an arched ceiling of light blue — a 
sun and thirteen stars in the centre. It was finished and decorated most 
artistically, and its numerous fireplaces were of higlily polished varie- 
gated American marble. The President's chair, under a rich canopy of 
crimson damask, was elevated three feet above the floor. The chairs 
of the senators were arranged in semicircles, and covered with the same 
bright material as the canopy and curtains. It had three windows open- 
ing upon Wall Street, and a balcony twelve feet deep, guarded by an iron 
railing, where the President was to take the oath of office. 

One of the finest mansions in the city stood on the corner of Cherry 
Street and Franklin Square. It was built by Walter Franklin, w-ho had 



in his lifetime been esteemed one of the richest merchants in New York, 
with, it is said, as much money in Eussia as in America. In 1783 his 
widow, a lady of great beauty, was married to the distinguished Samuel 
Osgood, of the Treasury Board, who became the owner of the edifice, as 

also of the property in its 
vicinity where the Harper 
Brothers subsequently erect- 
ed their world-renowned pub- 
lishing establishment. This 
dwelling was selected as the 
iillicial residence of the Pres- 
! I lent, Osgood removing else- 
\\ here that it might be bur- 
nished anew for its distin- 
guished occu2iancy.i 

While these and other prep- 
arations were being pushed 
with vigor, Gouverneur Mor- 
ris sailed for France, arriving in Paris early in February. His first dinner 
was with Jefferson, and the second with Lafayette. He was re- 
ceived with charming cordiality by Lafayette's family, and one of 
his little daughters sang a song after they left the table which happened 
to be one of Morris's own composition. But the republicanism of Lafay- 
ette and the revolutionary projects and principles which were lighting up 
the whole French horizon were, in the view of Morris, greatly to be deplored. 
A sense of equality was maddening the French mind, and it struck Morris 
as irrational. Every man was giving advice to every other man ; and 
each one in the high-colored pride of freedom thought it a great pity that 

Washington s Residence 

(The Walter Franklin House.) 

Dec. 18. 

Samuel Osgood (born at Andover, Massachu.setts, February 14, 1748, died in New York, 
August 12, 1813) was graduated from Cambridge with the liighest honors in 1766 ; he studied 
theology, but, losing his health, became an importing merchant. In 1774, in view of the 
disturbed relations with Great Britain, he abandoned business, and was immediately sent to 
the Essex County Convention, and thence a delegate to the Provincial Congress of Massachu- 
setts. He took part in the battle of Lexington, but was shortly elected to the State Legisla- 
ture, and left the army, thinking he could serve the country best in a civil capacity. From 
1780 to 1784 he was a member of the Continental Congres.s, and from 1785 to 1789, first com- 
mi.ssioner of the United States Treasury ; the bonds required for this last office were so heavy 
that he was about to decline the appointment rather than ask his friends to become .security, 
but the Legislature of Massachusetts came forward in a body and became his bondsman, an 
honor never accorded to any otlier private individual. With the organization of the new 
government, he was made the first Postmaster-General of the United States. He subsequently 
held several positions of gieat trust in New York, where he resided until his death. He 
was distinguished for integrity, piety, and public spirit, and for scientific and literary attain- 


he was not the king. He was at least equal to a king in his own estima- 
tion. And the more ignorant the man the greater his assumption of 
equality. " The literary people here, observing the abuses of their mo- 
narchical form," writes Morris, " imagine that everything must go better 
in proportion as it recedes from the present establishment, and in their 
closets they make men exactly suited to their systems ; but unluckily 
they are such men as exist nowhere else, and least of all in France." 

Notwithstanding the contrariety of opinion concerning the new Con- 
stitution, there was but one mind in the choice of a President. The Ameri- 
can heart turned as naturally to Washington as the morning-glory of the 
garden to the rising sun. It is an isolated instance in the history 
of nations for one man to so possess the confidence and affection 
of a great people as to command every voice and vote in his favor, with- 
out the aid of a nominating convention, or any electioneering process 
whatever. But it was thus with the first President of the United States 
of America. 

The election of the first Federal Congress under the Constitution was 
one of the most orderly elections the country had ever witnessed. The 
presidential electors met upon the day appointed and gave in their ballots. 
The results were immediately known, and preparations made accordingly, 
although no action could be given the new political machinery until 
Congress should assemble. The 4th of March was the time ap- 
pointed. The City of New York was awakened at early dawn 
of that particular morning by the roar of cannon and the ringing of bells. 
But eight senators and thirteen representatives appeared — not enough 
for a quorum in either house — which was owing partly to the severity 
of the weather and muddy roads. Stages were as yet few, and in out-of- 
the-way districts they had no fixed days for leaving specific points ; and 

ments, wrote several volumes on religious subjects, and was the author of a work on chronol- 
ogy. He was the son of Peter Osgood, descended from John Osgood of W'henvell, England, 
who sailed for Boston in 1638. He married Martha Brandon, in 1775, who died childless in 
1778. Eight years afterward he married Maria Bowne, the widow of Walter Franklin, whose 
father was Daniel Bowne, and whose mother was the sister of Governor Winthrop of Massa- 
chusetts. She liad three daughters at the time of her marriage to Mr. Osgood, JIaria Frank- 
lin, first wife of De Witt Clinton ; Sarah Franklin, who became Mrs. John Lake Norton ; 
and Hannah Franklin, who married George, the brother of De W^tt Clinton. The children 
of Samuel and Maria Bowne Csgood were : Martha Brandon Csgood, second wife of the French 
Minister, Citizen Edmond Charles Genet, and mother of Mr. George C. CJenet, of New York 
(the first wife of Genet was Cornelia Tappan Clinton, the second daughter of Governor George 
Clinton) ; Julia, who married her cousin, Samuel 0.sgood ; and Susan Maria, who married Moses 
Field of New York — great-grandson of Benjamin Field and Hannah Bowne, daughter 
of John Bowne, the first of the Bownes iu this country — and was the mother of Judge 
Mauusell B. Field, assistant secretary of the Treasury under Chase. 


they not infrequently tarried on the route for storms to pass, or to repair 
breakages. March was the worst month of the year for traveling, all 
comfortable facilities were wanting, and tlie roads in many places, as well 
as the fords of the rivers, were rendered impassable by floods. 

" We crossed the Earitan, at New Brunswick, in a scow, open at both 
ends to receive and discharge the carriage, without unharnessing or dis- 
mounting," wrote a traveler of the time, " and the scow was pulled across 
the river by a rope. We passed the Delaware in another scow, which 
was navigated only by setting poles." De Warville described a journey 
from Philadelphia to New York, made in " a kind of open wagon, hung 
with double curtains of leather and woolen cloth — carriages," said he, 
" which keep wp the idea of equality, the member of Congress riding beside 
the shoemaker who elected hirn, in fraternity." Between New York and 
Boston stages were constructed usually without springs. " By the time 
we had run thirty miles among the rocks," wrote De Warville, " we were 
convinced that a carriage with springs would very soon have been overset 
and broken." The mails were conveyed to and from New York, Boston, 
Albany, and Philadelphia three times a week in summer and twice a 
M'eek in winter. But the reader will readily perceive that communication 
between distant portions of the country was liable to serious delays. 

The first business after the organization of Congress, on the 6th of 

April, was to open and count the votes for President. Washing- 
AprU 6. ^ ^ '^ 

ton received every one. The majority of the votes for vice-Presi- 

dent elected John Adams, who had returned from his mission to England 
in 1788. The same day Secretary Thompson was appointed to convey 
official information to Washington, and the ne.xt morning left New York 
on horseback for Virginia ; about the same hour a messenger started for 
Boston, to communicate the intelligence to John Adams. 

A puzzling question immediately arose. How should the President be 
addressed in his official capacity ? The first title suggested was " Ex- 
cellency." This did not meet general approval. "Eoger Sherman has 
set his head at work to devise some style of address more novel and 
dignified," wrote John Armstrong on the 7th. " His Highness the 
President of the United States and Protector of their Liberties" was 
proposed; also, " His Serene," and " High Mightiness." After 
mature consideration it was decided to reject all titles whatever and 
adopt the simple name of " President of the United States." 

Thompson arrived at Mount Vernon on the 14th, and on the morning 

of the 16th Washington started for the seat of government. 

He wrote to Knox that his " feelings were not unlike those 
of a culprit going to the place of execution " ; and in his diary recorded 


his "mind opiiressed with more anxious and painful sensations than 
he had words to express." His journey, however, was like one con- 
tinued triumphal procession. Cities, towns, and villages vied with 
each other in doing him honor. People gathered by the roadside and 
shouted as he rode by. Soldiers were paraded, triumphal arches were 
erected, and flowers were strewn along his pathwaj'. At Gray's Ferry, 
over the Schuylkill, he was escorted through long avenues of laurels 
transplanted from the forests, bridged with ai-ches of laurel branches, 
and as he passed under the last arch, a youth concealed in the foli- 
age dropped upon his head a beautiful civic crown of laurel, at which 
tumultuous shouts arose from the immense multitude. At Trenton a 
magnificent triumphal arch, supported by thirteen pillars, had been 
erected by the ladies, and as the hero passed under it on his white 
charger, thirteen lovely maidens carrying baskets scattered flowers plen- 
tifully before him, singing at the same time an ode composed for the 
occasion. At Elizabethtown Point he was received by a committee 
from Congress, of which Elias Boudinot was chairman, and hj Chan- 
cellor Livingston, Secretary Jay, Secretary Knox, the Commissioners of 
the Treasury, the Mayor and Eecorder of New York, and other dignitaries. 

An elegant barge constructed lor the purpose of conveying him to the 
city was in waiting, manned by thirteen masters of vessels in white 
uniforms, commanded by Commodore Nicholson, in which he embarked, 
and as it moved from the shore other barges fancifully decorated fell into 
line. The glittering procession glided through the narrow strait between 
New Jersey and Stateu Island, when, as if by magic, dozens of boats gay 
with flags and streamers dropped into its wake. All the vessels and sloops 
in the bay were clad in holiday attire, and each saluted Washington as 
he passed. The Spanish man-of-war, Galveston, displayed every flag and 
signal known among nations, as the presidential barge came abreast of her. 
Upon a sloop under full sail were some twenty-five gentlemen and ladies, 
singing an ode of welcome written for the occasion to the tune of " God 
save the King." Another small vessel came up, distributing sheets of a 
second ode, which a dozen fine voices were engaged in singing. Bands of 
music ou boats upon all sides, perpetual huzzas, and the roar of artillery, 
filled the air, while over the whole exhilarating scene the sunshine fell 
from cloudless heavens. 

The feiTy stairs at MuiTay's Wharf were carpeted, and the rails hung 
with crimson. Governor Clinton received the President as he lauded 
upon the shore which had been recovered from a powerful enemy through 
his own valor and good conduct, at which moment popular enthusiasm 
was at its climax. The streets were lined with inhabitants as thick as 


they could stand, and the wildest and most prolonged cheers rent the air. 
Military companies were in waiting to conduct Washington to the man- 
sion prepared for his reception, but it was with difficulty that a passage 
could be pressed through the joyous throng. Colonel Morgan Lewis, 
aided by Majors Morton and Van Home, led the way, and the various 
regiments were followed by the officers of the miHtia, two and two, the 
committee of Congress, the President elect with Governor Clinton, 
the President's suite, the Mayor and Aldermen of the city of New York, 
the clergy, the foreign ministers, and an immense concourse of citizens. 

Every house on the route was decorated with flags and silken banners, 
garlands of flowers and evergreens. Every window, to the highest story, 
was filled with fair women and brave men. Every inanimate object 
seemed alive with the waving of handkerchiefs and hats. From the 
skies, apparently, fell flowers like snow-flakes in a storm. And in every 
possible form of unique device and ingenious ornamentation the name of 
Washington was suspended from roof to roof, and upon fanciful arches 
constructed for the occasion. The multitude shouted until hoarse, and 
the bells and the guns caught up the echoes, and with ceaseless clamor 
and deafening din proclaimed the universal gladness. 

Upon reaching his destination Washington was immediately waited 
upon and congratulated by the foreign ministers, and by political charac- 
ters, military celebrities, public bodies, and private citizens of distinction. 
He then dined with Governor Clinton at the gubernatorial residence in 
Pearl Steet. In the evening the entire city was brilliantly illuminated. 

John Adams had arrived in New York two days before, and taken the 
oath without parade and his place as president of the Senate. In his 
opening speech he said it would be impossible to increase the confidence 
of the country in Washington, or add in the smallest way to his glory ; 
he asked : " Where, in looking over the catalogues of the first magistrates 
of nations, whether called presidents, consuls, kings, or princes, shall we 
find one whose commanding talents and virtues and overruling good- 
fortune have so completely united all hearts and voices in his favor — 
engacfins the esteem and admiration of foreign nations and fellow-citizens 
with equal unanimity? .... Providence has indeed marked out the 
head of this nation with a hand so distinctly visible as to have been 
seen by all men and mistaken by none." 

Richmond Hill House became the residence of the Vice-President. 
Mrs. Adams was charmed with the loveliness of the situation, and her 
vivid pen-touches invest our authentic illustration of the mansion upon a 
former page with fresh interest. "In natural beauty," she writes, "it 
might vie with the most delicious spot I ever saw. It is a mile and a 


half distant from the city of New York. The house stands upon an 
eminence ; at an agreeable distance flows the noble Hudson, bearing 
upon its bosom innumerable small vessels laden with the fruitful produc- 
tions of the adjacent country. Upon ray right hand are fields beautifully 
variegated with grass and grain, to a great extent, like the valley of 
Honiton in Devonshire. Upon my left the city opens to view, inter- 
cepted here and there by a rising ground and an ancient oak. In front, 
beyond the Hudson, the Jersey shores present the exuberance of a rich, 
well-cultivated soil. In the background is a large flower-garden, enclosed 
with a hedge and some very handsome trees. Venerable oaks and broken 
ground covered with wild shrubs surround nie, giving a natural beauty to 
the spot wdiich is truly enchanting. A lovely variety of birds serenade 
me morning and evening, rejoicing in their liberty and security." 

This rural picture of a point near where Charlton now crosses Varick 
Street naturally strikes the prosaic mind familiar with the locality at the 
present day as a trick of the imagination. But truth is stranger, and not 
infrequently more interesting, than fiction. 

The six never-to-be-forgotten days between Washington's arrival and 
his inauguration were devoted to the perfection of preparations for the 
imposing ceremonial. The city opened its hospitable doors for the enter- 
tainment of guests from all parts of the Union. The crush was bewil- 
dering. Every public house was filled to its utmost capacity, and the 
private mansions overflowed. " We shall remain here if we have to sleep 
in tents, as many will have to do," wrote Miss Bertha IngersoU. " Wliile 
we are waiting at Jlrs. Vandervoort's, in Maiden Lane, till after dinner, 
two of our beaux are running about town, determined to obtain the best 
places for us to stay at which can be opened for love, money, or the most 
persuasive speeches." New York had never before housed and sheltered 
a gathering of such magnitude. Everybody struggled for a glimpse of 
Washington. The aged declared their readiness to die if they could once 
behold his face. The young described him as looking more grand and 
noble than any human being they had ever seen. 

A national salute ushered in the morning of the 30th of April. The 
day had arrived for the final step in the creation of a national 
government. All business was suspended. The streets were '"^ 
filled with men and women in holiday attire, while constant arrivals 
from the adjoining country by the conmiou roads and ferry-boats, and 
by packets which had been all night on tlje Sound or coming down the 
Hudson, swelled the eager throng. At nine o'clock the bells pealed 
merrily from every steeple in the cit\', then paused ; and presently in 
slow measured tones summoned the people to the churches " to implore 


the blessing of Heaven on the nation and its chosen President — so 
universal was a religious sense of the importance of the occasion." ^ 

At the close of these solemn services the military began to march from 
their respective quarters with unfurled banners and inspiring music. At 
noon they formed under the immediate direction of Colonel Morgan Lewis, 
in Cherry Street, opposite the Presidential mansion. From the Senate, 
Ealph Izard, Tristam Dalton, and Eichard Henry Lee, and from the House 
of Eepreseutatives, Egbert Benson, Charles Carroll, and Fisher Ames had 
been chosen a joint committee of arrangements. The procession moved 
in the following order: the various regiments, the sheriff of the city 
and county of New York, the committee of the Senate, the President 
elect, the committee of the House of Eepreseutatives, Chancellor Eobert 
E. Livingston, Secretary John Jay, Secretary Henry Knox, the Commis- 
sioners of the Treasury, and distinguished citizens. They marched througli 
Pearl Street and Broad to Wall Street ; when in front of Federal Hall 
the troops formed in line upon each side of the way, through which 
Washington, having alighted from his chariot, walked in the midst of 
his illustrious attendants to the building, and ascended to the Senate 
Chamber, where Congress had just assembled; he was received at the 
door by the Vice-President, and conducted to the chair of State. After 
formally introducing Washington to the august body, Adams addressed 
him with stately ceremony : — 

" Sir, the Senate and House of Eepreseutatives of the United States 
are ready to attend you to take the oath required by the Constitution, 
which will be administered • by the Chancellor of the State of New 

" I am ready to proceed," was the grave reply. 

The Vice-President then conducted Washington to the balcony, ac- 
companied by the senators, and other gentlemen of distinction. Broad 
Street and Wall Street, each way, were filled with a sea of upturned faces 
— the windows and house-tops crowded with gayly dressed ladies — and 
a silence reigned as profound as if every living form whicli comjDosed the 
vast assemblage was a statue carved in stone. AVashington's fine figure 
appeared in the centre of the group of statesmen between the two pillars, 

1 The clergymen of the city in 1789 were Rev. Dr. John Rodgers of the Presbyterian 
Church, Rev. Dr. John Mason of the Scotch Pre.sbyterian, Provost, Rev. Benjamin 
Moore (afterwards Bishop), and Rev. Abraliam Beaeh of the Episcopal, Rev. Dr. John Henry 
Livingston and Rev. Dr. William Linn of the Dutch Reformed, Rev. Dr. John C'hristoplier 
Kunze (Professor of Oriental Languages in Columbia College) of the Lutheran, Rev. Dr. 
John Daniel Gross (Professor of the German Language and of Moral Philosophy in Columbia 
College) of the German, Rev. Mr. Morrill and Rev. Mr. Cloud of the Methodist, Rev. 
Benjamin Foster of the Baptist, and Rev. Gershom Siexas of the Jewisli Synagogue. 



his head uncovered, and his powdered locks gathered and tied in the pre- 
vailing fashion of that day. Opposite Washington stood the Chancellor 
in his robes, ready to administer the oath of office, and between them the 
Secretary of the Senate held an open Bible upon a rich crimson cushion, 
iipou which Washington rested his hand. 

The Chancellor pronounced slowly and distinctly the words of the oath. 
The Bible was raised, and as the President bowed to kiss the sacred 
volume, he said audibly, ■' I swear," adding with fervor, his eyes closed, 
that his whole soul migh*' be ab.sorfied iu the supplication, " so help me 

Washington taking the Oath. 

" It is done, " said the Chancellor ; then, turning to the multitude, he 
waved his hand, crying in a loud voice, — 

" Long live George Washington, President of the United States ! " 

Silence was at an end. A flag was instantly displayed on the cupola 
of Federal Hall, and all the bells in the city rang one triumphant peal. 
Shouts and acclamations burst from the waiting thousands, and repeated 
again and again, echoed and re-echoed, and were answered by cannon 
from every direction upon both land and water, until it seemed as if the 
city would lie jarred from its very tbundations. 

And even now, at the end of nearly a century, who among us can be 
brought into a close review of the sublime incidents of this creative epoch 
in the history of nations without a draught from the same ecstatic foun- 
tain of emotion. With the act which completed the organization of the 


government of the Union — the impressive oath, solemnly administered 
and reverently uttered — the life-current leaped into a perpetual flow, and 
our national greatness was secured. 

Washington bowed to the assemblage, and returned to the Senate 
Chamljer, where, after the members of Congress and other dignitaries had 
taken their seats, he arose and delivered a short inaugural address. He 
then proceeded to St. Paul's Chapel in Broadway, attended by Vice- 
President Adams, Chancellor Livingston, Secretary Jay, Secretary Knox, 
Commissioners Osgood and Walter Livingston, the members of Congress, 
and many other distinguished characters, where prayers were read by 
Bishop Provost, who had been chosen one of the chaplains of Congress. 
These services concluded, the President was escorted to his own resi- 

In the evening the city was illuminated with unparalleled splendor. 
Every public building was in a blaze of light. The front of the little 
theatre in John Street was filled with transparencies, one of which 
represented Fame like an angel descending from heaven to crown Wash- 
ington with the eniljlems of immortality. At the Bowling Green was 
an enormous transparency, with Washington's portrait in the centre 
under a figure of Fortitude, and the two branches of the new government 
upon his right and left under the forms of Justice and AVisdom. All the 
private residences of the city were brilliantly lighted, Ijut none more 
effectively than those of the French and Spanish ministers, who seemed 
to have exercised a generous rivalry in their preparations. They both 
lived on Broadway, in the vicinity of the Bowling Green. The doors 
and windows of De Moustier's mansion were bordered with lamps, which 
shone upon numerous paintings suggestive of the past, the present, and 
the future of American history, from the pencil of Madame de Brehan, 
the sister of the Minister. Don Gardoqui's decorations were even more 
elaborate ; the principal transparency in front of his residence contained 
figures of the Graces artistically executed amid a pleasing variety of 
emblems ; and in the windows were moving pictures so skillfully devised 
as to present the illusion of a living panorama in a little spot of fairy- 
land. One of the vessels at anchor off the Battery resembled a pyramid 
of stars. The display of fireworks, under the direction of Colonel Bau- 
man, was the finest New York had ever seen. Washington drove to the 
residence of Chancellor Livingston, on Broadway, from whose windows he 
obtained a full view of the imposing spectacle. 

The days immediately following were chiefly occupied by the President 
in acquainting himself with the details of domestic and foreign affairs. 
In his desire to master the whole subject of our relations with other 


nations, he applied himself with energy to the task of reading all the 
correspondence that had accumulated in the office of the Secretary since 
the close of the war. He also produced with his own hand abstracts of 
the reports which were made by tlie Secretaries Jay and Knox, and the 
Treasury commissioners, that he might better impress the actual con- 
dition of the different departments upon his memory. He employed 
Samuel Fraunces, proprietor of the famous Fraunces' Tavern, steward of 
his liousehold. David Humphreys, the soldier, diplomatist, and poet, 
rendered essential service in tlie matter of admitting callers, instinctively 
understanding who were best entitled to an audience, and in what manner 
to dismiss others without giving offense. But the door was besieged 
from morning till night, and it was evident that some system must be 
established for the reception of visitors, in order that the President might 
have time for the performance of public duties. It was an affair of great 
delicacy. Popular theories must not be rudely jarred. Eepublicanism 
was a novelty, and it was fondly expected that the chief magistrate of 
the people would be accessible to every citizen. Washington was in 
favor of receiving every visitor on proper occasions and for reasonable 
purposes. But he was deeply impressed with the necessity of maintain- 
ing the dignity of his oftice witli forms that would command deference 
and respect ; and lie hoped to draw a well-balanced line between too much 
ceremony on tlie one hand and an excess of familiarity on the other. 

He took counsel of the renowned group of statesmen by whom he was 
surrounded ami sustained. Opinions upon this subject, as upon all others, 
were at variance. Vice-President Adams, like Lord Bellomont nearly a 
hundred years before, had seen power so constantly associated with pomp 
in foreign lands, that he foun<l it difficult to believe that the substance 
would exist unless " human minds collected into nations " were dazzled 
by the trappings. He talked of chamberlains and masters of ceremony. 
Secretary Jay better understood the American disposition, and calmly 
advocated an orderly uniform system which should not overstep the limits 
of republican simplicity. Hamilton was in favor of maintaining the 
dignity of the office, but pertinently suggested caution, lest too high a 
tone shock the prevalent notions of equality. A line of conduct which, it 
was hoped, would combine public advantage with private convenience was 
finally adopted. The President appointed Tuesday afternoon, from tliree 
o'clock until four, for the reception of visits of courtesy. No invitations 
were extended, but he was prepared to see whoever came. Visitors were 
shown into the room by a servant, and retired at their option without 
ceremony. " At their first entrance they salute me, and I them, and as 
many as I can, I talk to," wrote Washington. "Gentlemen, often iu 


great numbers, come and go ; chat with each other, and act as they please. 
What ' pomp ' there is iu all this I am unable to discover." Foreign am- 
bassadors and official characters were received on other days of the week. 
And the President was always accessible to persons who wished to see him 
on business. On Sundays the President attended St. Paul's Chapel in the 
morning and spent the afternoon and evening at home, never receiving 
company, however, unless some intimate or family friend. 

The Constitution left all the details of administration to the action of 
Congress, which moved slowly in the matter of establishing the tliree 
departments of State, the Treasury, and that of War — to which last was 
added whatever might appertain to the naval concerns of the United 
States. Troublesome questions arose and were argued with spirit. The 
President, for instance, was emj)owered to appoint the heads of depart- 
ments, but the Constitution was silent as to where the power of removal 
was lodged. Equally eminent men stood oj^posed in tlie discussion. It 
was decided in favor of the President. But that it should not be deemed 
a grant of power by Congress, the bill was so worded as to imply a con- 
stitutional power already existing in the President, thus, " Whenever the 
Seretary shall be removed by the President of the United States," etc. ; 
and it is still a matter open to dispute whether our First Congress de- 
cided wisely and well. 

At the President's request John Jay officiated as Secretary of State 
until the following spring. In forming his cabinet, Washington asked 
Jay's acceptance of any place he might prefer. But with the organiza- 
tion of the National Judiciary it seemed eminently fitting that Jay should 
become the first Chief Justice of the United States. He had been the first 
Chief Justice of the State of New York in that most critical of all periods, 
when the armies of his late sovereign were spreading" terror and desola- 
tion around him. His habits of mind, calm serenity, and great legal 
acumen were peculiarly adapted to that branch of the government termed 
by Washington " the keystone of our political fabric," through wliich 
the laws of the laud were to be faithfully and firmly administered' 
and Jay was disposed to exert his talents for the common good. Tints he 
received the appointment, in September, although the Supreme Court was 
not fully organized until the following April ; and he will ever remain to 
the nation and the world an example of personal and judicial purity. 
The words of one of the great masters of our language have passed into 
history — "When the ermine of the judicial robe fell on John Jay it 
touched nothing less spotless than itself." 

Oliver Ellsworth was chairman of the committee who prepared the bill 
establishing the Supreme Court, and circuit and district courts, an organi- 


zatioii which has remained substantially the same to the present time. 
It was to hold two sessions annually at tlie seat of government. Five 
associate justices were appointed — William Cu.sbing, the first chief 
justice of Massachusetts as a State ; James Wilson, one of the Conven- 
tion which framed the Constitution ; Robert H. Harrison, chief justice of 
Maryland ; John Blair, of Virginia, also one of the famous Convention ; 
and John Rutledge, the brave-spirited South Carolina statesman whom 
Patrick Henry pronounced the greatest orator in the First Continental 
Congress. Harrison declined, and James IredeU of North Carolina, was 
appointed in his stead. These gentlemen procured homes and brought 
their families to reside at the capital. 

Tiiomas Jefferson, who had obtained permission to return from France, 
was made Secretary of State. Hamilton was placed at the head of the 
Treasury Department. Knox was continued in the War office. Governor 
Edmund Eaudolpli, of Virginia, was chosen Attorney-General. And 
Samuel Osgood, of New York, received the appointment of Postmaster- 

The President dined with Chancellor Livingston, with Secretary and 
IVIrs. Jay, with Governor Clinton, and with Hamilton at his pleasant 
home in Wall Street, during the week following the inauguration. On 
the 7th of May a public ball was given in his honor. A writer of 
the day says, " The collection of ladies was numerous and brilliant, 
and dressed with consummate taste and elegance." Mrs. Washington had 
not yet reached the city, but ]Mrs. Jay and Mrs. Hamilton were among 
those present ; also Lady Stirling and her two daughters, Lady .Mary 
Watts and Lady Kitty Duer ; ]Mrs. Peter Van Brugh Livingston, Lord 
Stirling's sister ; Mrs. Clinton, ^L-s. Mayor Duane, Mrs. James Beekman, 
Lady Temple, Lady Christina Griffin, Jlrs. Chancellor Livingston, Mrs. 
Pilchard Montgomery, Mrs. John Langdon, Mrs. Elbridge Gerry, ]\lrs. 
Livingston of Clermont, the Misses Livingston, Mrs. William S. Smith, 
daughter of the Vice-President, the beautiful bride of James Homer 
Ma.xwell, who as Miss Van Zandt had repeatedly danced with Washington 
while the army was at Morristown, Mrs. Edgar, Mrs. McComb, Mrs. Dal- 
ton, the Misses Bayard, Madame de Brehan, Madame de la Forest, and Mrs. 
Bisliop Provost. The President, the Vice-President, the Secretaries of State 
and War, the majority of the members of both Houses of Congress, the 
governor of New York, tlie mayor of the city, the Chancellor, the French 
and Spanish Ministers, Baron Steuben, Colonel Duer, and a great many 
other distinguished guests rendered the occasion memorable. The com- 
pany numbered over three hundred. Washington was the star of the 
evening. He danced in two cotillions. His partners were Mrs. Peter 


Van Brugh Livingston and Mrs. Hamilton. He also danced a minuet 
with Mis. Maxwell. 

On the following Thursday evening De Moustier gave a magnificent ball 
in honor of the President at his residence in Broadway. Madame 

May 14 

de Brehan was heard to declare that she " had exhausted every 
resource to produce an entertainment worthy of France." Two sets of 
cotillion dancers iu complete military costume, one in that of France and 
the other in the bufi' and blue of America, represented our alliance with 
that country. Four of the ladies wore blue ribbons round their heads 
with American flowers, and four were adorned with red ribbons and the 
flowers of France. Even the style of the dance was uniquely arranged 
to show the happy union between the two nations. One large apartment 
was devoted to refreshments, in which the whole wall was covered with 
shelves and filled with fruits, ices, and wines, supplied to the guests by 
servants standing behind a table in the center of the room. 

Mrs. Washington left Mount Vernon in her private carriage on the 

19th to join her husband in New York ; she was accompanied by 

May 19. 

' her grandchildren, Eleanor Curtis and George Washington Parke 
Curtis, and attended by a small escort on horseback. All the large towns 
and cities on her route sent cavalcades of dragoons and citizens out to 
meet her, processions defiled on either side of the highway for her carriage 
to pass, cheers and acclamations everywhere greeted her approach, and 
the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the wise and the simple, 
were alike eager to do her homage. When within seven miles of Phila- 
del^Dhia she was met by a brilliant company of ladies and gentlemen in 
carriages, and conducted into the Quaker City with distinguished cere- 
mony, where she was the guest of Mrs. Robert Morris. She left for New 
York on the Monday following, accompanied by Mrs. Morris. It rained 
violently in the afternoon, and they spent the night at Trenton. The 
weather was charming on Tuesday, and they journeyed as far as " Liberty 
Hall " in Elizabeth, the home of Governor Livingston, where they were 
to be entertained. The mansion was charmingly decorated with May- 
flowers, and the surrounding trees upon every side were filled with beau- 
tiful banners. Mrs. Jay was present to aid her father and mother in 
extending graceful hospitalities to the wife of the President. The guest- 
chamber set apart for Mrs. Washington was the one over the Governor's 
Library. Mrs. Robert Morris occupied the apartment over the great, 
entrance hall in the center of the front of the dwelling. 

Tlie President entered his elegant barge at five o'clock the next morn- 
ing, and accompanied by John Jay, Robert Morris, and other distinguished 
characters, crossed the Bay and reached "Liberty Hall" iu time ta 


breakfast with j\Irs. Washington. When the Presidential party returned 
to the city, conducting Mrs. Washington and her retinue, New York Bay 
presented a similar scene to that witnessed on the day of Washington's 
reception. As the unique craft, with thirteen pilots in white costume, 
approached the landing, bearing its precious burden, salutes were fired Ironi 
all the war vessels at anchor, and from the Battery, while delighted 
throngs of people surged through the streets, tilling the air with shouts of 

Mrs. Governor Clinton, Mrs. Chancellor Livingston, Mrs. Hamilton, 
Lady Stirling, Lady ]Mary Watts, and Lady Kitty Duer were chief among 
the group of ladies who received Mrs. Washington. Mrs. Beekman, ]Mrs. 
Provost, Mrs. Livingston of Clermont, the ^Misses Livingston, the Misses 
Bayai'd, Mrs. Edgar, and the wives and daughters of the foreign ministers 
and members of Congress, with many others, paid their respects early on 
Thursday morning. On Thursday evening the following gentlemen dined 
informally at the President's table : Vice-President Adams, Governor 
Clinton, John Jay, the French Minister De ^Moustier, the Spanish Min- 
ister Gardoqui, General 'Arthur St. Clair, Speaker Muhlenberg, and 
Senators John Langdon, Ealph Izard, William Few, and Paine Wingate. 
The latter has left a description of this dinner. He says, no clergyman 
being present, Washington himself said grace, on taking his seat. He 
dined on a boiled leg of mutton, as it was his custom to eat of oidy one 
dish. After the dessert a single glass of wine was offered to each of the 
guests, when the President rose, tlie guests following his example, and 
repaired to the drawing-room, each departing at his option, without 

On Friday evening Mrs. Washington held her first reception, or levee, 
as it was styled, which was attended by aU that was distinguished 

. . May 29. 

in official and fashionable society. Henceforward she received 
every Friday evening from eight until ten o'clock. These levees were 
arranged on the plan of the English and French drawing-rooms, visitors, 
entitled to the privilege by official station, social position, or established 
merit and character, came without special invitation ; and fuU dress was 
required of all. The President was usually present. 

It was not long ere Mrs. Washington was pronounced an "aristocrat," 
and lier rigid exclusion of the ill-bred and unrefined from her levees was 
caustically criticised as " queenly" and " couit-like." The dignity and for- 
mality of both the President and his wife rebuked all attempts at famil- 
iarity ; thus without ostentation social intercourse assumed a high tone, 
and democratic rudeness not having yet gained the ascendency, cultured 
elegance, grace, and good mannere jirevailed. 


While the bill was pending in Congress for tlie establishment of the 
heads of departments, and vigorous debates over a contemplated revenue 
system were occupying attention, the question of salaries to be paid the 
President, Vice-President, and other officials of the government came 
before the House. Washington had at his inauguration signified his 
wish to serve the country, as hitherto, without salary. But it was in- 
e.Kpedient to establish the precedent, as succeeding Presidents might not 
find it possible to incur a similar loss of time and money ; and, moreover. 
Congress was required by the Constitution to provide compensation. It 
was, after many days, decided to fix upon a liberal sum, but to leave the 
style in which the President should live — it not being esteemed a legiti- 
mate subject for legislation — to the discretion and judgment of Wash- 
ington himself The pay of the Vice-President, and the Senators and 
Representatives, furnished food for lengthy and animated discussions. 
Some were for giving the Vice-President a daily, instead of a yearly 
allowance, and others thought the Senators deserved more than the Eepre- 
sentatives because " they were the purified choice of the people." The 
various propositions for amending the Constitution were next in order. 
Virginia suggested twenty alterations in the organic instrument, Massa- 
chusetts nine. South Carolina four, Pennsylvania twelve. New Hampshire 
twelve, North Carolina twenty-si.x, and New York thirty-two. After 
mature deliberation seventeen amendments were adopted by two thirds 
of the House. The Senate reduced the number to twelve by omitting 
some, and merging the principles of two or more into one. When these 
twelve were transmitted to the legislatures of the States for ratification, 
ten only were accepted. 

The first Congress was justly famous for its men of parliamentary 
talent and social accomplishment. The leading antagonists in the House 
were James Madison and Fisher Ames, particularly in debating the 
revenue system and the policy of assuming State debts incurred during 
the Revolution. Both were orators, able and impressive, but in different 
ways. Madison was the better logician, Ames possessed the greater im- 
agination. Madison was profoundly versed in domestic concerns, finan- 
cial and political economy. Ames reasoned from principles of general 
policy and constitutional and international jurisprudence. Madison's 
eloquence in depth and smoothness might be compared to the ocean in 
repose, that of Ames flowed like the current of some clear, beautiful river. 
Madison was the older by six well-rounded years. Ames was thirty-two. 
W^illiam Smith of South Carolina, one of the best debaters and most 
accomplished gentlemen that ever appeared in Congress from that State, 
sustained Ames with brilliant oratory ; he resided in Broadway, ne.xt 


door to the Spanish ilinister. Theodore Sedgwick, Elbridge Gerry, and 
George Thacher, from ilassachusetts, were all men of mark. Gerry was 
decidedly anti-Federal ; but, unwilling to forfeit the good- will and friend- 
ship of those with whom he had been associated during the Eevolution, 
he claimed to be neutral and impartial between the two parties. This 
course was denounced by Thacher, who was a celebrated wit, and, under- 
standing the sensitive temperament of his colleague, made him the per- 
petual victim of daring humor and biting sarcasm. Connecticut was 
represented by Roger Sherman, Jonathan Trumbull, Benjamin Hunting- 
ton, Jeremiah Wadsworth, and Jonathan Sturges. Trumbull was the 
son of the great war-governor of the same name, and had himself been 
secretary and aide to Washington, and a member of the chieftain's 
military family from 1780 to 1783. Hugh Williamson was the most 
conspicuous member from North Carolina. It was during this year 
that his marriage with Miss Apthorpe of Xew York was solemnized. 
Elias Boudinot, the philanthropist, was one of the leading New Jersey 
representatives. Speaker Frederick Augustus Jluhlenberg and General 
Peter Muhlenberg, from Pennsylvania, took up their abode in the family 
of Rev. Dr. Kunze, the Ltitheran scholar and divine. George Clymer 
and Henry Wynkooj) were also among the Pennsylvania members. 
From New Hampshire, Nicholas Gilman, treasurer of the State, Samuel 
Livermore, and the clerical statesman, Abiel Foster, were prominent in 
the complicated business before the House. 

EgV)ert Benson, who had participated largely in the various measures 
resulting in the establishment of a general govei'nment, was one of the 
leading New York members.' He was a pleasing speaker, and his per- 
sonal popularity added weight to his arguments. His colleagues were 

1 Egbert Benson was one of the five commissioners appointed by New York to attend t)ie 
Annapolis Convention in 1786, and the only one who accompanied Hamilton, and aided 
materially in securing the call of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 — not only in the 
incipient movement, but afterwards in Congress as a member from New York. He also sup- 
ported the resolutions of Congress at a later date to transmit the Constitution to the action 
of the States ; and in January, 1788, as a member of the New York Assembly, he introduced 
into that house the resolution to call a State convention to act upon the Constitution, which 
singularly enough was opposed by twenty-tive out of fifty-two votes. He was one of the 
Congi-essional committee to receive Wa.shington on his triumphal approach from Virginia ; 
and chairman of the committee from the House to report on the "styles and titles of the 
presidential office." He was also chairman of the joint Congressional connuittee to arrange 
for the inauguration of Washington ; and was associated with Madison, Clymer, Sherman, and 
others, in preparing the response to Washington's inaugural address. He was twelve years in 
Congress, and from 1794 to 1801 Judge of the Supreme Court of New York. He received many 
literary honors ; and he was the first president of the New York Historical Society. At the 
time of the oi-ganization of the general government he was forty-three years of age. He was a 
bachelor, and resided with his brother, Robert Benson, comer of Nassau and Pine Streets. 


John Lawrence, a man of fine address and njarked influence, William 
Floyd, who signed the Declaration of Independence, Peter Sylvester, 
John Hathorn, and Jeremiah Van Eensselaer, afterwards lieutenant- 
governor of New York. 

The New York senators were Philip Schuyler and Eufus King ; from 
Massachusetts came Caleb Strong and Tristam Dalton ; from Connecticut, 
Oliver Ellsworth and William Samuel Johnson ; from New Hampshire 
John Langdon and Paine Wingate ; from New Jersey, William Patterson 
and Jonathan Elmer; from Pennsylvania, Eobert Morris and AVilliam 
Maclay ; from Delaware, George Read and Eichard Bassett ; from Mary- 
land, Charles Carroll and John Henry ; from Virginia, Eichard Henry 
Lee and William Grayson ; from South Carolina, Ealph Izard and Pierce 
Butler ; from Georgia, William Few and James Gunn ; and from North 
Carolina, after the first session, Benjamin Hawkins and Samuel Johnston. 

A violent illness confined the President to his house through the 
greater part of June and July. The anniversary of the Declaration of 
Independence was celebrated in tlie city with exceptional en- 
thusiasm. The Society of the Cincinnati waited upon the Presi- 
dent in the morning with a complimentary address, to which he responded 
in a few brief sentences. He was too feeble otherwise to do more than 
appear for a moment in the door of his mansion while the military com- 
panies of the city were passing, clad in the uniform worn during the 
Eevolution. The Cincinnati, led by Baron Steuben, marched in procession 
to St. Paul's Chapel, where a great concourse of distinguished citizens 
and strangers were assembled to hear Alexander Hamilton deliver an 
oration on the life and public services of General Nathaniel Greene. 

It was a glowing tribute. "Did I possess the powers of oratory, I 
should with reluctance attempt to employ them upon the present occa- 
sion," said Hamilton, with impressive earnestness. " The native brilliancy 
of the diamond needs not the polish of art ; the conspicuous features of 
pre-eminent merit need not the coloring pencil of imagination nor the 
florid decorations of rhetoric. The name of Greene will at once awaken 
in your minds the images of whatever is noble and estimable in human 
nature. In forming our estimate of his character we are not left to sup- 
position and conjecture. We have a succession of deeds as glorious as 
they are unequivocal, to attest his greatness and perpptuate the honors 
of his name." 

The President regretted being- too ill to leave his house on this occa- 
sion. But Mrs. Washington, Mrs. Jay, Mrs. Hamilton, and Mrs. Adams 
graced St. Paul's with their presence ; also many other ladies. The 
assemblage was pronounced the most brilliant ever seen in New York. 


Tlie iiiotlier of Washington died in August, at Fredericksburg, aged 
eighty-two, which affected him deeply. I'rior to the close of the 
first sessioD of the first Congress in September, a joint ciimmittee 
from the two houses requested him " to recommend to the people of the 
United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, in acknowledg- 
ment of the signal blessings which had afforded the opportunity of 
peacefully establishing a constitution of government." He accordingly 
appointed the 2r)th of November. 

After the adjournment of Congress New York was for a few weeks 
comparatively quiet. Washington exercised daily on horseback, walked 
about the city at his pleasure, and drove every pleasant morning ^-itli 
Mrs. Washington and others, .sometimes in the post-chaise and sometimes 
in the coach. His horses were numerous, and the finest the country 
produced. He drove four and not infrequently six before his carriage, 
with outriders in livery, the stylish establishment preceded usually l)y his 
two secretaries on horseback. He gave frequent dinners: on Thursday, 
October 1, the guests at his talile were Postmaster - General 

Oct 1. 

O-sgood and Mrs. Osgood, Colonel William and Lady Kitty Duer, 
James Madison, George Read, Colonel lUand, ]Mrs. Greene — the widow 
of General Nathaniel Greene — Lady Christiana Griffin and daughter, 
Miss Brown, Colonel Lewis Morris, and Mayor James Duane. Mrs. 
Washington received visitors as usual on the Friday following. On 
Saturday the President sat two hours to Madame de Pirehan, wlio was 
painting his miniature profile — sub.sequently engraved in Paris. 

Washington records a conversation between liimself and Hamilton on 
Monday the 5th, concerning a tour through the New England 

Oct 5. 

States ; and on Wednesday a similar conversation with Jay, who 
signified iiearty approval of the plan. Tlie I'resident also consulted both 
Hamilton and Jay the same afternoon in reference to the propriety of 
taking informal means of ascertaining the views of the P.ritish Court 
concerning the American posts still in tlieir possession, and a commer- 
cial treaty. Hamilton thought Gi.iuverneur ]\Iorris a fit person for the 
business. The next day Washingti:)n consulted ^Madison on both sul.ijects, 
who saw no impropriety in the New Englaml trip, liut was dubious about 
the private agency to England. He thought if the necessity did not 
press, it would be better to wait the arrival of Jefferson. He feared that 
employing Morris would be a commitment for his employment as Minister, 
should one he sent to England, or wanted at Versailles in place of Jeffer- 
son. His opinions coincided with those of Hamilton and Jay in regard 
to the superior talents of Morris — but he thought with Jay that Morris's 
imagination sometimes outran his judgment. He said further "that the 


manners of Morris before he was well known created unfavorable opinions 
which he did not merit." 

Madison took his leave ; and an hour later Gardoqui, the Spanish 
jMinister, called to say his adieus prior to embarkiny for Spain. That 
day at the President's dinner-table were the entire fandly of the Vice- 
President, including himself, wife, son, son-in-law, daughter, and niece ; 
also (roN'ernor Geoi'ge Clinton and two daughters, Tristam Daltou and 
Mrs. Dalton, and Mr. and Mrs. Dubois. In the evening De Moustier 
and Madame de Brehan came in for an hour. De Moustier told Wash- 
ington that he had received permission to return to his court. 

On the lOtli Washington, accompanied by Vice-President Adams, 
Governor Clinton, Ralph Izard, and Colonel Smith, the son-in-law of the 
Vice-President, visited Flushing to examine some fruit orchards and 
gai-dens, and on their return stopped at the country-seats of tlie General 
and tiouN'erneur Morris, in Morrisania, to view a barn which the latter 
had often described to the President as something novel, costly, and con- 
venient. As they were returning leisurely through the little village of 
Harlem, they met Mrs. Washington in her carriage, witli Mrs. Adams and 
her daughter, Mrs. Smith. They all alighted, and dined at a small tavern 
kept by Captain Marriner, who had been actively concerned in whale- 
boat warfare in the vicinity of New York during the Revolution. Four 
days later the President wrote letters to France, and while with Mr.s. 
Washington on an informal visit to De Moustier antl his sister, who were 
about to sail, placed them in the hands of the Minister. Washington also 
prepared letters the same day for Gouverneur Morris, requesting him as- 
a private agent to sound the British Ministry. 

The next day was Thursday. Tlie President's proposed journey through 
New England having been generally esteemed advisable, he left 

Oct 15 

the city in his own chariot, drawn by four Virginia liays, attended 
by his two secretaries, Tobias Lear and Major Jackson, on horseback in 
advance, and a retinue of six servants. Chief Justice Jay, Secretary Ham- 
ilton (of the Treasury), and Secretary Knox accompanied him some dis- 
tance beyond the Harlem Ri\'er. 

Washington passed through Rye, Norwalk, Fairfield, and Stratford 
to New Haven, where he was welcomed by Governor Samuel Hunt- 
ington, Lieutenant-Governor Oliver Wolcott, and the mayor of the city, 
Roger Sherman. At Wallingford the President saw the white mul- 
berry growing to feed the silk-worm, and wrote of some fine silk 
thread, and of a sample of lustring which had been manufactured from 
tlie cocoon in that town. " This," he .said, " except the weaving, is the 
wdik of private families, without interference with other business, and is. of the city. 349 

likely to turn out a beneficial amusement." In company with Oliver 
Ellsworth and others he visited the factories of Harti'ord. He took 
special note of all the industries and occupations of the people upon the 
whole route. He was pleased with the appearance of thrift and progress ; 
and his conclusions were that the country was rapidly recovering from 
the ravages of war, and that the new government was generally approved. 
He avoided Rhode Island, as that State had not yet ratified the Constitu- 
ti(in. North Carolina voted her own admission into the Union the same 
day that he returned to New York; lihode Island yielded her scruples 
on the l^'Jtli of May following. His journey was a continuous triumphal 
march, unparalleled in history for its exhibition of love, gratitude, and 
reverence. Civil authorities, religious societies, literary institutions, and 
other bodies e.xhausted tlie vocabulary of praise in flattering addresses, 
and crowds sometimes followed him for miles. 

During the absence of the President and of Congress, New York pre- 
ji.u-ed for a gay winter. All the tradespeople were employed ; house- 
renovating, house-building, horse-furnishing, house-adorning, and the 
production of personal outfits of exceptional costliness kept the wheels 
of industry rolling. It was necessary to provide for a larger jiopulation 
than at any previous period. Tlie markets were enlarged and taverns and 
boarding-houses multiplied. Among other public improvements it was 
])roposed to extend the sidewalks from ^'esey Street to ^Murray Street 
upon the west side iif Broadway, and although not completed until the 
next year, a similar foot-pavement — (piite narrow — was laid along the 
Bridewell fence on the east side. Reade and Duaue Streets were not 
opened until 17y4 ; and the year 1797 came before au attem]it was made 
to grade the hills on the Broadway road between Murray and Canal 
Streets, the highest point of which was in the neighborhood of Anthony 

The " Fresh Water Pond " still sparkled in the sunshine, a smooth, 
clear, beautiful, miniature inland sea, tlie locality of which may be signi- 
ficantly traced upon the map of j\Ianhattan Island, on a former page. But 
it was too far out of town to be much noticed. At a club dinner in 
December some imaginative individual was \evy nnich ridiculed for 
suggesting the projiriety of purchasing it, with the lands surrounding, for 
park purposes, and with a view to the future ornamentation of tlie pro- 
spective metropolis. Capitalists had no faith in any wild, visimiary 
scheme of that character. New York would never in their judgment 
reach such a remote point of the compass. One of the springs which 
supplied the faljulously reported unfathomable de}>ths of this remarkable 
lake bubbled forth near the present junction of Chatham and Roosevelt 



Streets, where was erected the famous " Tea Water Pump " which sup- 
plied the city with wholesome drinkiug-water ; the various wells in the 
lower part of the town affording only a miserable and brackish substitute 
for water. 

It was confidently understood that the first question to come Ijefore 
Congress when it should reassendjle in the winter would be the location 
of the permanent seat of government, and the Xew York heart throbbed 
with feverish anxiety. The heads of departments were appointed, as we 
have seen, and the whole machinery of the great structure was substan- 
tially organized. Washington seems not to have measured men by their 
speculative views, or evinced a disposition to punish them for difference 
of political opinion. The offices in his gift were generally Ijestowed upon 
those who had been active in establishing the Constitution ; thus, James 
Duane, the mayor, was made judge of the district of New York, Richard 
Harrison, United States attorney, and Colonel William S. Smith, marshal. 
But there were notable instances to the contrary, as in the case of Gen- 
eral John Lamb. Neither the fact that this honest soldier had Ijeen 
inflexibly opposed to the Constitution, nor the charges and complaints 
against him provoked in the heats of conflicting interests, and through 
a zeal too warm to admit the wisdom and purity of an opponent or the 
possibility of its own error, influenced Washington's decision, who in 
August sent the name of General I.amb to the Senate, which unani- 
mously ratified his appointment as Collector of the Port. 

Residence of General John Lamb, Wall Street. 

I Set pj-c JlJl) 



1790 - 1793. 

Pkesident Wa.siiixgton. — Life in New Vurk. — The John .Street Theater. — 
Social C'elebiutie.s. — New Year's Day. — The Treasury Department. — The 
National Debt. — Oliver Woi.cott. — The President and his Secretaries. — 
The McComb Mansion in Broadw.\y. — Origin of the Tammany Society*. — Ha.m- 
ilton's Finan(ual Sy.ste.m. — Indian War in Ohio. — Indian Chiefs in New York 
City'. — Vermont. — Arrival of Jeffer.son. — The City Treasurer. — Death of 
Franklin. — Cii.a.scellor Livingston. — The Favorite Drive of New York. — 
Political Questions. — The Permanent of Government. — Aaron Burr. 
— New York Men and Measures. — The Tontine Association. — New York 

THE winter of 1790 opened auspiciously. New York City was in 
jiromising health and picturesque attire. The weather until Feb- 
ruary was remarkably mild and lovely. " I see the President has returned 
fragrant with the odor of incense," wrote Trumbull to Wolcott in Decem- 
ber. " This tour has answered a good political purpose, and in a great 
measure stilled those who were clamoring about the wages of Congress." 
The community at la